I was born in Spring Valley, and grew up in a fun, safe neighborhood in La Salle. I lived a good childhood and was able to stay self reliant by commuting, working, and living freely. At 14 years old I was left with no option when my father’s career transferred out of state. A new beginning was abounding for me, with an open chapter to write anew.

Nearly two decades have passed and I have returned to the Illinois Valley at 33 years young. When I tell people where I am coming from, it is always the same sad remark. That remark is something to the effect of… Why in the world would you move here? The tone is always the same in this interaction. It’s one of excitement and pride on my end, and complete disregard for any positive attributes about this Illinois Valley community from other. It boils down to a lack of pride, in my opinion.

The last time I heard this I had to call the gentlemen out. It was to even his surprise, a pretty terrible thing to say once his wheels started turning. He agreed that he’s lived elsewhere, and it’s pretty much all the same. The scenery may change, but your life and who you are and where you come from, the fabric of your being is what makes you unique, and it remains the same. Your problems do not go away when you relocate or change addresses, unless the crazy neighbor is all that troubles you.

Why in the world would you move here, to the Illinois Valley? It’s only a mini metropolis with some of best people in the world living here. You can get big city vibes from a small, disperse set of communities. The distances are too great, the traffic isn’t bad, and prices are much higher on the other side. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side and I think it’s terrible our own citizens of this community would greet newcomers with such ignorance. If you’re not proud to be a part of this community and the people of it, it’s a free country and you can leave at any time.

Show some pride in the community and where you’re from, and be the change you wish you could get elsewhere. Everything we say and do affects us all one way or another.

Joe Mignone, Varna

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