January 8, 2003 - The Northwest Herald : D.D. Sears, 65, and Whit Sears, 70 head for Peace Corps Thailand

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: Peace Corps Headlines - 2003: 01 January 2003 Peace Corps Headlines: January 8, 2003 - The Northwest Herald : D.D. Sears, 65, and Whit Sears, 70 head for Peace Corps Thailand

By Admin1 (admin) on Sunday, January 12, 2003 - 2:38 pm: Edit Post

D.D. Sears, 65, and Whit Sears, 70 head for Peace Corps Thailand





Read and comment on this story from The Northwest Herald on D.D. Sears, 65, and Whit Sears, 70 who are heading for Peace Corps Thailand. They sold their house early last summer after the last of their four children moved out. They got rid of all of their possessions except what they could cram into two 5-by-10 storage lockers in their son Angus' basement.

Angus Sears said he admires his parents for joining the Peace Corps but is sad that they will be gone for two years. He said he wants his parents to be a part of his daughter's life. She is almost 2 years old. "I'm extremely torn," he said. "On one hand, I'm proud of them, but from a selfish view, I'd like to have them around." Read the story at:


Johnsburg couple joins Peace Corps, will travel to Thailand*

* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.



Johnsburg couple joins Peace Corps, will travel to Thailand

By ERIC J. CLARK

The Northwest Herald

JOHNSBURG D.D. Sears has wanted to join the Peace Corps ever since President Kennedy founded the volunteer organization in 1961.

Forty-two years later, she finally has the chance. She and her husband, Whit Sears, leave Thursday for Thailand to spend two years mentoring teachers in rural areas of the country.

"It's a good opportunity," D.D. Sears said. "It will allow me to continue my profession in a meaningful way and share the experience and knowledge I have with other people."

D.D. Sears, 65, and Whit Sears, 70, have lived in Johnsburg for almost 25 years. They sold their house early last summer after the last of their four children moved out.

They got rid of all of their possessions except what they could cram into two 5-by-10 storage lockers in their son Angus' basement.

They are allowed to bring only 80 pounds of luggage each to Thailand.

"Getting rid of special things was hard, but I like having less," Whit Sears said.

With no house for most of the summer, the couple spent about two months camping throughout the West Coast and Canada.

After returning briefly to Illinois, they left on another camping trip to Texas and Arkansas and did not return until November. Since then, they have been staying with their children in Woodstock and Round Lake Beach.

Angus Sears said he admires his parents for joining the Peace Corps but is sad that they will be gone for two years. He said he wants his parents to be a part of his daughter's life. She is almost 2 years old.

"I'm extremely torn," he said. "On one hand, I'm proud of them, but from a selfish view, I'd like to have them around."

The couple started to think seriously about joining the Peace Corps when there was a lull in their last major volunteer endeavor.

For the past nine years, the couple has served as emergency foster-care parents for the McHenry County Mental Health Board. They would take in at-risk children for a few days or weeks until it was safe for the child to go home.

The couple grew especially attached to one child. Once he turned 18, they decided it was time to try something new.

"We talked about becoming nomads, but we decided that wouldn't be satisfying," D.D. Sears said. "We didn't want to just roam."

The couple had reserved a spot at a Peace Corps informational meeting on Sept. 13, 2001, in Chicago. A week before the meeting, D.D. Sears called to confirm the reservation and was told that there was plenty of space. But after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the meeting was packed.

Shortly after they registered, the couple learned they had been nominated to go to Africa, one of the most sought-after Peace Corps missions.

But the results of their physicals were not completed in time for that mission. When Thailand came up, they knew it was meant to be.

"Thailand just seemed right to us," Whit Sears said.

Although they know they are headed for Thailand, which is in Southeast Asia on the Indochinese and Malay peninsulas, they do not know exactly where in the country they will be.

The couple has been told they could end up in the northern or northeastern part of the country, but a specific assignment will not be set until they arrive.

The Sears will use their education backgrounds to help improve the teaching skills of young Thai teachers.

When the couple arrives in Thailand, they will be two of 7,000 Peace Corps volunteers serving in 70 countries.

D.D. Sears spent 20 years teaching at grade schools, high schools and junior colleges, including Johnsburg High School from 1978 to 1979. She also has a Montessori teaching certificate.

Although education was not the primary focus of Whit Sears' career, he did plenty of training at a number of jobs and has a master's degree in business from Harvard University.

After about a year and a half of waiting, they are ready to leave. Whit Sears said he is looking forward to getting the trip started.

"It would be wrong to say it's not a quest for adventure, but it is also an attempt to do some good," he said.

Questions or Comments? Contact us. Copyright - 1998-2002 Northwest Herald Newspapers - 7717 South Route 31 - Crystal Lake, Illinois 60014 - (815) 459-4040 - Subscription (815) 459-8118 or (800) 589-9363
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