It was a tragic accident that would have left many people feeling down, feeling sorry for themselves. But for one Watseka teenager, a severe spinal injury suffered during a high school football game, wasn't going to put him on the shelf for very long.
Young Hayden Schaumburg used his injury to teach all of us ... how to better people. And today, Hayden is as active as ever before...walking, talking, attending school, working the farm, and still inspiring his community will his resilience.
The Times-Republic (Wednesday night) named Hayden Schaumburg its Citizen-of-the-Year. The honor came at the Watseka Area Chamber of Commerce annual awards banquet.
Martha Howe was also recognized and honored as The Times-Republic's Lifetime Achievement Award winner.
Her efforts keep the Watseka Area Food Pantry operating and serving many people in need. The nomination pointed to her backbone and energy for a program that's a huge success.
Hayden's inspiration stems from his spinal injury on the football field in October of 2014. After weeks in a Chicago-area hospital and rehab, The high schooler's determination to rebound from the accident sparked a community effort to support his comeback.
A group of people nominated Hayden for the Citizen-of-the-Year, pointing to his journey as something that's made the community better. People have joined together to fundraise and ignite his determination.
The community itself, the nomination states, has helped the town-folks learn to become better...co-workers, friends, neighbors, volunteers and citizens. Hayden's effort, the nomination points to, has inspired people of all ages.
As for the award, Hayden says "thank you to everyone who's been behind me in my journey; I love my community so much."