BYRON, Ill. - From the Illinois farm fields to the dinner tables of local residents - all for a good cause. Sweet corn was the centerpiece of a recent fundraiser that netted $5,300 for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure fight against breast cancer.
Employees at a pair of Exelon nuclear plants recently made donations in exchange for a dozen ears (or two) of Illinois sweet corn. Workers at local Byron Station donated $2,100 while their counterparts at LaSalle Station near Marseilles tallied $3,245 in donations.
Dean Sack of Peru, Ill., has spent the better part of three decades working at Exelon Nuclear facilities in Illinois and is currently a manager in the Shaw contractor group. He grew the corn on his farm and hauled it to the two plants for distribution. The fundraiser came about due to his wife's involvement in the Susan G. Komen movement. She needed a way to raise money for the upcoming 60-mile Komen Race for the Cure, in which she is a participant.
"We had a tremendous response to our call for volunteers to harvest and bag the corn," Sack said. "We had more than 50 people come out on Sunday, from as far away as Wilmette and Hinsdale down to Lockport and Peoria. It has been an overwhelming experience."
While Dean led a group of employee volunteers in the sales fundraiser at Byron on Monday, his wife Jane led the group down at the LaSalle plant. What was left of the 23,000 ears of corn harvested for Monday's fundraiser was donated to local food pantries, Sack said.
After a weekend of steady rain that left a damper on many in the area, Monday's fundraiser brought out the sun and a lot of smiles.
"I was amazed at the generosity of everyone who made this event a success," said Exelon employee and Oregon resident Pat Hayenga. "Some gave as much as $20 or $30 for a dozen, knowing it was for a good cause. Others who don't even eat corn dropped money in the bucket and went on their way. It was an amazing day."
More information on the Komen Race for the Cure can be found at www.the3day.org.