BURNHAM | Dion Sellers is only 19, yet he’s a member of the U.S. Army who can say he has served in combat zones in Afghanistan.
So when Sellers returned Friday to Burnham, where his family has lived for decades, village officials felt compelled to give him a greeting he’ll likely never forget.
As the vehicle that was bringing Sellers from O’Hare International Airport to Burnham got off the Bishop Ford Freeway onto Dolton Avenue, it was met with an escort of Burnham police and fire vehicles — all with sirens blazing.
Also among the official escort for Sellers back to Burnham were a few Calumet City Fire Department vehicles, and even a truck pulling a float depicting the Thornton Township logo.
Bob Storman, a spokesman for Township Supervisor Frank Zuccarelli, said township officials felt compelled to join in the public celebration of a veteran returning home.
Zuccarelli “felt that (the township) need(s) to do more to show our visible support for these returning soldiers,” Storman said.
Expressing a similar view was Village President Robert Polk, who rode at the head of the procession that escorted Sellers into the village. Polk said that while he does not know Sellers personally, he does know Sellers’ grandmother and said the family has lived in Burnham for nearly 27 years.
“They are a good family, and they are part of the community,” Polk said. “This is the least we can do.”
The official municipal escort took Sellers east on Dolton Road and State Street (straddling the Burnham and Calumet City border), before heading north on Torrence Avenue, where it wound up at the Burnham Community Center, 14020 Torrence Ave.
There, Sellers was greeted by family and friends.
He also was presented with a plaque by Polk and other village officials to honor his military service.