« Back to News

The Blade – Volunteers Critically Important in Promoting Area

Fairbury has many interesting attractions. However, without volunteers, it would be nearly impossible to maintain them. One example is the Fairbury Echoes Museum which this past weekend held their 35th anniversary celebration.

The Museum is operated by a board of volunteers, with only one part-time paid staff person. It has been said that the Fairbury Echoes Museum is a real gem for our community. Having more information and history than other museums of much larger size, our Museum is a real asset to Fairbury. Some displays are permanent, and others change periodically. “It is a good idea to go back regularly as you cannot see or “digest” everything in one trip!” says Mary Catherine Carter, Board president.

Another local attraction run by volunteers is the “Loom Room” in Tom Steidinger’s garage at 200 N. 9th St., Fairbury. A couple years ago an old-fashioned loom was donated to Fairview Haven, and Tom & Dianne Steidinger decided to put forth the needed efforts to get it running. After a lot of research and work, woven fabric rugs, denim rugs, table trivets, and/or table runners are produced weekly in all colors and sizes.

A lot of work goes into the production. Besides the actual looming, the material strips need to be cut and sewn. All of the fabric is donated – some in the form of clothing, draperies, sheets, etc. that need to be cut into strips. Once again, volunteers make this operation hum.

“Besides my wife Dianne, there are others who help out in many ways – Robert Edelman, Jake Steidinger, Ed Stork, Helen Voeste, and Dakota Bazzell come to work on a regular basis. Robert Edelman works almost every day and manages the operation. If Tom’s not available and there are any questions, he can answer them. If I missed any volunteers, I am sorry,” Tom says.

“Also, Charles Steidinger and Harvey Schieler have actively been delivering the “scraps” to Home Sweet Home Ministries in Bloomington. Nothing is wasted, “ Tom said.

Once a piece is finished, it is put on display either at the “Loom Room” or downtown at the Friends Helping Friends shop at 222 E. Locust St, Fairbury. This shop is open on Saturdays from 9am – 1pm, and if you stop by, Jake will likely be the key volunteer to welcome you. All proceeds are given to the Fairview Haven Good Samaritan Fund.

The art of “Looming” is fascinating to watch. It is worth a drive to 200 N. 9th St., Fairbury where Tom and his helpers are often available. Just call Tom (815) 692-2791 and ask if you can come by. Or, stop by Friends Helping Friends to see the finished products on Saturdays. It is amazing the amount of volunteer time that goes into this project!

Volunteers are always appreciated. As we work on the project to promote Fairbury, we welcome volunteers who would be able to dedicate time to making Fairbury an even better place to live, work and play. Please call Bobbi McKeon at (815) 692-4500 if you would like to volunteer.