Aurora man who rescued the driver who is stuck on track called Citizen of Year

This is Good News Sunday, a collection of some of the more optimistic and inspiring stories recently published by the Daily Herald:

Lewis Medina, who pulled a non-responsive driver out of his vehicle stuck on train tracks in Aurora just seconds before it was hit by a train, was recently awarded the 2021 Roscoe Ebey Citizen of the Year award by Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain.

“It is crucial that we take the time to recognize the citizens who go beyond our society,”

Around 8:30 p.m. on Oct. 9, Medina was driving from his home in Aurora when he saw a vehicle stuck with tires spinning on the train tracks at Barnes Road in Sugar Grove Township, Hain said.

Medina checked the driver, who did not respond due to a medical emergency. When Medina called 911 and was fighting to free the 72-year-old Aurora man, he saw the lights from an oncoming train.

Medina, 60, pulled the man out of the vehicle, which fell “like an anchor” right down on the rails. He said he was able to grab the man by his arm and pants and sling him off the track, but they were still too close. He rolled him down the hill seconds before the train hit.

“I was in the right place at the right time, and I’m grateful for that,” Medina said.

For the full story, click here.

Quest Academy student publishing book started in fifth grade writing program

Although Shivani Ganeshan of Arlington Heights is only in seventh grade, she has not only published her first fantasy novel, but classmates are asking her for a sequel.

She is something of a celebrity and role model for her classmates at Quest Academy in Palatine, after being interviewed last summer on Fox 32. Now she sees her book available online via Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Target, as well as on the shelves in Arlington Heights Memorial Library.



Quest Academy teacher Darrell Maskell, left, and seventh-grader Shivani Ganeshan look at her book "Drawn in the smoke" at the Palatinate School.  Ganeshan wrote the book while in fifth grade in Maskell's class.

Quest Academy teacher Darrell Maskell, left, and seventh-grader Shivani Ganeshan look at her book “The Sign in the Smoke” at Palatine School. Ganeshan wrote the book while in fifth grade in Maskell’s class.
– Paul Valade | Staff photographer

“I love reading and fantasies are definitely my favorite,” says Shivani. “So I was so excited to hear that we wanted to write fantasy stories in fifth grade.”

Her book is called “The Sign in the Smoke” and it follows four best friends, or PowerSurge as they call themselves. These fifth-graders accidentally discover their science teacher’s sinister plan to destroy their world, and they must find a way to stop her.

Shivani’s book came out of an assignment from her fifth grade teacher, Darrell Maskell, who has made it her mission to encourage writing among her students. During the unit, their stories are reviewed and edited at least 20 times after receiving feedback from their peers and Maskell.

For the full story, click here.

Harvest Week Drive supports the holiday needs of the West Suburban Community Pantry

Harvest Week will be celebrated throughout Woodridge, Lisle, Aurora and Naperville until November 18 to collect new unpacked toys, children’s books and holiday food for neighbors in need, supported by the West Suburban Community Pantry.


Feeding families for the holidays is the goal of the West Suburban Community Pantry's annual Harverst Week fundraiser.

Feeding families for the holidays is the goal of the West Suburban Community Pantry’s annual Harverst Week fundraiser.
– Lent by West Suburban Community Pantry

The pantry serves more than 500 families each week from DuPage County, including Naperville, Lisle and Woodridge, as well as the Bolingbrook and Romeoville communities.

“The need is especially critical during the holidays, and bringing joy to struggling families is rewarding for both donors and families,” says Development Director Lisa Spaeth. “We count on the generosity of our community to help local children and families share in the safety of knowing they have a meal to share and can enjoy the warmth and peace of the holiday season. We are so grateful for your support.”

In addition to new unwrapped toys and books for ages 0-12, the necessary items include: baby diapers and napkins; canned vegetables; boxed potatoes and filling mixture; canned sauce and cranberry sauce; pumpkin pie or other dessert mix; or other holiday food.

For the full story – and a list of drop-off locations – click here.

• Good News Sunday takes place every weekend. Please visit dailyherald.com/newsletters to sign up for our great newsletter on Sunday.

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