As Kim Krummrich clutched her son’s lifeless body she thought, “This isn’t real.”
“I was holding Dalton and pleading to him to, “Please, come back,’” she said.
But it was too late. Dalton Lee Clark had been dead for more than four hours before his mother found him lying in bed at their Shiloh home.
“There was no CPR to be done,” said Krummrich, a nurse by trade.
Dalton was just 16, the victim of an overdose of methadone, a synthetic opioid used to treat heroin addicts.
The medication was prescribed to Dalton’s grandmother as a pain killer. The coroner’s report said he had three times what is considered to be a lethal dose of the drug in his body.
“If he had taken one pill less, it would have still killed him,” Krummrich said. “If he would have taken two pills less, it would have still killed him.”
Dalton died on Aug. 13, 2014. A year later, Krummrich can just now talk about the loss of her only child, but she does so with a heart that is still broken.
“There is still not a day when I do not think of him. There is not an hour when I do not cry,” Krummrich told Highland High School students in Highland, Ill. during an assembly last Thursday.
It was the first time Krummrich, who wears Dalton’s ashes in a locket, has ever spoke publicly about her son’s death. But she found the strength by hoping that her story might be the words that end up saving one of the kids in the crowd.
Krummrich pleaded with the students to not believe that taking prescriptions drugs for recreational purposes come without consequence.
“Just because they come in a bottle with directions, and a doctor signs a little piece of paper that says it’s OK to have them, they are not OK,” she said. “I would do anything in the world to have my baby back. My life will never be the same.
“All I ask, if you know of someone, or are that person, please don’t let this be your mom. Please, don’t make her wear your ashes around her neck. Please stop and think. It’s not cool. It’s not fun.”
In addition to telling her own story, Krummrich has set up a Facebook page where children who feel the need to reach out can always find understanding and open arms.
“If the kids want to leave a message, there will be a mother. That mother will be me,” she said. “I will answer every question. I will listen to every story. I will hold your hand and walk you through whatever you need.”
It was Mother’s Day, 2013 when Kari Karidis received a phone call from one of her son’s coworkers who was worried about him.
“She said she was in recovery and saw some of the same signs with Chas,” said Karidis.
A Ph.D. and an assistant principal at Collinsville High School, Karidis questioned she could have failed to recognize the signs herself.
“How could I have not known?” she said.
But Chas was a master of deception. He hid his drug use skillfully.
“I had no idea my son had a secret life,” Karidis said.
Karidis would end up sending Chas to rehab. He would make three trips there between May and August of 2013. But he would be arrested in October. He spent four days in the Madison County Jail before he appeared in “Drug Court” and was sentenced to “intensive day treatment.”
Karidis said her son was determined to beat his addiction.
“He was looking forward to Thanksgiving,” she said.
But Chas relapsed again. On Nov. 4, 2013, Karidis received a telephone call at work, “that no parent should receive.”
Just short of two months after his 23rd birthday, Chas died of a heroin overdose. Emergency room doctors could not save him. He was the 23rd Madison County heroin overdose victim in 2013.
“On the surface, 23 doesn’t sound like much in a year until you break that down a little and realize this means that, on average, we, in Madison County alone, lost one person every two weeks all year,” Karidis said.
“I’m pretty sure I read this information on a publication by the Madison County coroner’s office, and I can’t quote the exact source for you, but that number, 23, is engrained in my mind. I didn’t need to look it up to share it with you.
“You see, statistics aren’t just numbers. Statistics have names and loved ones who must go on with life. We moms, dads, brothers, sisters, grandparents and friends, we are the collateral damage. You can’t see that in the statistics.”
Karidis said Chas was not perfect, but he had dreams and goals.
“He wanted to get married,” she said. “He wanted so badly to be a daddy. He wanted to have a good job. He wanted to be someone his younger brother and I could be proud of.”
And he was fighting his demons.
“The day he was rushed to the hospital, he had his ‘One Day at a Time’ coin in his wallet,” Karidis said. “He was wearing this bracelet, the one I now wear every day, that says, ‘Not even once.’ ”
But with heroin, once is all it can take.
“This disease, and addiction is a disease, this disease has no cure. There is only treatment,” Karidis said. “Addicts are not addicts by choice. Ask any one of them and you’ll hear the same thing. They’ll tell you of their regrets, guilt and hopelessness.
“Most, if not all, would tell you that if they had known ‘back then’ what would happen to them, they never would have started to begin with. None of them would tell you that as a child answering the question, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ They answered, ‘An addict.’ ”
Go to mocosports.smugmug.com for my latest photos from the 2015 Madison County Fair in Highland, Il
Connie Rehberger spent her 100th birthday last Thursday like many others. Sure, she was planning to go out to dinner that night with family to celebrate her big day, but before that, she had things to do.
She spent part of the day carefully reading over the annual business report for IBM. (She is a stockholder.)
Rehberger is an avid reader. She also balances her checkbook to the penny, with a pencil. Rehberger has never owned a computer. And she doesn’t plan to buy one.
“I don’t have time to play with it,” she said.
Rehberger, however, has a cell phone. But she does not text.
“I’m just lucky I am able to answer the cell phone,” she said and grinned.
In addition to attending to her finances, Rehberger also took her 10 laps around Legacy Place on her birthday — a daily routine.
“People have said five laps make a mile. I don’t know that for fact,” she said.
Rehberger was born in Lebanon on Dec. 18, 1914. She graduated from Lebanon Community High School in 1932 and the University of Illinois in 1939. She said she would have graduated from college earlier, but she had to drop out a couple years to make money.
After graduating from college, Rehberger taught in a one-room school just outside of O’Fallon for four years.
“I was always good at math,” she said. “I was pretty good at English, but that wasn’t always my top concern. Math came so easy.”
Rehberger then moved to Scotia, N.Y., where she took a clerical job with General Electric on July 1, 1941. She worked at G.E. for 39 years before she retired in 1980.
Rehberger was the oldest of five children. She had three brothers and one sister, who were all younger and have since passed away.
Rehberger never married or had any children, which she said may have contributed to her longevity.
“I would have probably had a few more headaches (if I had married),” she said and laughed.
Over the years, Rehberger has traveled extensively, including once to Africa.
She attended the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y., where she volunteered as a temporary accountant.
While on vacation about 15 years ago, Rehberger also rode Space Mountain at Disney World. She thought the indoor roller coaster was initially a movie theater.
“I took the ride for what it was worth,” she recalled.
Last summer, Rehberger took a helicopter ride with her nephew.
“That will be my first and only helicopter ride,” she said. “I wasn’t scared. But at my age, you don’t have to do some things a second time.”
Rehberger moved into Legacy Place in Highland on Jan. 1, 2011. Up until then, she lived on her own in New York. She stopped driving when she was 95.
“When I was in my 90s, I was talking to one of my nieces,” Rehberger recalled. “She asked me if I am living to be 100? I told her I am not going to comment on anything. I am going to take it day by day.”
This was one of the happiest days of my life,” Dean Lanphere recalled, looking at his self portrait taken 71 years ago.
The photograph was taken just a few minutes after Lanphere’s wife, Geneva, pinned his wings on his U.S. Army Air Corps uniform. It was May 15, 1943.
“I thought I was the hottest thing on earth on that day,” he said with a grin. “That was a long time ago. I was so young and a hot rod back then.”
Shortly after the picture was taken, Lanphere was deployed to Sydney, Australia.
The newly minted bomber pilot arrived with swagger.
“I remember a major telling me when I arrived there, ‘Hey, fly boy. You think you are the greatest on earth?’ ” he said.
Lanphere, who was then 23 years old then, walked quietly away from the Air Corps major and did not say a word. He would let his actions speak for him — 58 times over enemy territory.
A small town boy
As a child, Lanphere was raised by his grandparents in Lyndon, Ill., a small town about 80 miles north of Peoria.
He moved in with his grandparents after his parents got divorced. His dad was an alcoholic. His mom contracted tuberculosis when he was 4 1/2 years old and put into a Springfield, Ill., hospital.
Lanphere continued to live with his grandparents even after his mom was healed and remarried.
His grandfather was employed as a section foreman with the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, he recalled. His grandmother stayed at home.
Lanphere graduated from Lyndon High School.
“There were eight girls and five boys in my graduating class,” he said.
While in high school, he met his future wife, Geneva, who lived in a nearby town along the Rock River.
“I guess you can say we were high school sweethearts,” he said and smiled.
After graduating from high school in 1940, Lanphere moved to Washington, D.C., and took a civil service job, which had a $1,440 annual salary. After he worked there six months, he received a $180 pay raise.
“That was good money back then,” he said.
He and Geneva got married in 1941 and moved to Chicago.
On Dec. 7, 1941, he and Geneva were watching Andy Devine perform at the Oriental Theater in downtown Chicago.
After Devine’s act, it was announced Pearl Harbor had been attacked, Lanphere recalled. It was a day he will never forget.
“I can still hardly believe it happened,” he said. “It was a very, very bad deal.”
Lanphere enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps a day after reading a Jan. 20, 1942 article in theChicago Tribune. The article stated a married man with a high school education could now become a pilot. Up to that time, the Air Corps required all pilots to have a college degree.
Lanphere didn’t hesitate to sign up.
“Ever since I was a young kid, I wanted to become a pilot,” he said.
Shortly after earning his wings, Lanphere was sent to the South Pacific.
Lanphere said he and his crewmates had to fight two enemies — the Japanese and the weather. The U.S. air base in New Guinea was located 2 degrees south of the equator, he said.
“During one mission I could not even see my wing tips for 3 1/2 hours,” Lanphere said.“And we had equatorial storms every damn day.”
Lanphere flew 58 missions before he was discharged from the service on Sept. 15, 1944.
Lanphere said his bombing unit was the only unit in U.S. World War II to fly B-26, B-25 and B-24 airplanes.
“It’s really amazing what happened (to me),” he said. “…But I was lucky. I was able to come home before (Japan) started the kamikaze stuff.”
After serving 15 months in the South Pacific, Lanphere said he requested and was granted his discharge.
“I wanted to see my 1-year-old daughter really badly,” he said. “I still can hear my commanding officer grant my request. But he also informed me at the time, if I agreed to stay in, he would promote me to captain in three more weeks.”
Lanphere did not reconsider his decision. He boarded a ship and headed to San Francisco.
It took 21 days for the ship to make the journey. A week after arriving stateside, he took a train to Chicago. He then took a train to Sterling, Ill., where his wife and daughter, Denise, were waiting. Shortly after Lanphere got off the train, he recalled his wife asking him to hold their baby.
“I asked her how,” he said and laughed. “I never held a baby before.”
He and and Geneva, had another daughter, Jodeane, born a couple years later.
‘What I had to do’
Lanphere, who is now 95, often wonders what would have ever happened in his life if he didn’t enlist.
He also wonders what would have ever happened if World War II had a different ending.
In August 1945, Lanphere was living in Sterling, with his wife and daughter, when the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
“I’ve heard from a number of people over the years saying the U.S. should have not dropped those bombs,” he said. “But, I believe if we would have not done that, we would have lost a bunch of serviceman in Japan. They were a bunch of real fanatics.”
Lanphere said he does not consider himself a hero.
“Am I a hero, no… I just did what I had to do,” he said. “And the rest of my crew did the same thing. It was our job to save our country.”
A good life
Lanphere worked as an air traffic controller in Chicago for a number of years after he retired from the military.
After Geneva passed away, Lanphere would find love twice more.
He and his second wife, Kay, were married for about 20 years before she succumbed to breast cancer.
He later met Gladys Lampe of Highland. They were married in 2001. She died in June after battling pneumonia, he said.
“My days with Gladys were some of the happiest times of my life,” he said. “We shared a lot of things in common. We both loved to travel.”
Looking back at his life, Lanphere said he does not have any regrets. He said he has lived a good life.
He said he also enjoyed his time in the military. He said seeing the U.S. flag today means everything in the world to him.
“I’m proud of it,” he said and started to cry.
Lanphere is also proud to have served.
“…And I’d be happy to serve our country again, if I could,” he said and smiled.
Did the Detroit Tigers overpay for Prince Fielder?
Did the Tigers now pay too much or get too little in return for Prince Fielder when they traded him to the Texas Rangers for Ian Kinsler?
And why did they have to throw in additional $30 million to make Wednesday’s trade complete?
The trade does make sense and could be a good one for both teams.
The Rangers needed a left-handed power hitter. Josh Hamilton was missed last season.
And the Tigers needed a second baseman. Kinsler is no Lou Whitaker.
But Kinsler carries a bigger stick than Sweet Lou.
Are the Tigers done? Could Max Scherzer be traded next?
The Texas Rangers may be interested.
But for now the Prince is right for Texas.
What would you do if you were the St. Louis Cardinals general manager?
Would you resign Carlos Beltran? Would you trade David Freese?
Would you trade Shelby Miller for a shortstop?
What shortstop do you really covet?
What do the Cardinals really need to make another run at the World Series?
Are the Cardinals’ youngsters really that good? Or are they just a fluke?
There are a lot of questions. But there are not a lot of easy answers.
What they really need is a solid backup catcher for Yadier Molina.
A solid shortstop would be nice. That might be expensive, though.
What would you do if you were the Cardinals general manager?