Going Global: People from around the world call southern Illinoi - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Going Global: People from around the world call southern Illinois home

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WSIL -- Throughout the past few months, we introduced you to folks from various parts of the world in our "Going Global" segment. In this final episode, we take a look back and also hear from people who grew up in southern Illinois.

Folks visiting Southern Illinois may quickly notice the natural scenery, like the lakes, the deer and all the farms. Others come to explore the wine trails, the caves and the Shawnee National Forest. 

But to the people who grew up in southern Illinois, like West Frankfort Mayor Tom Jordan, they know it for so much more.

"Being from southern Illinois, I think is being in an area where you know your neighbor, you know their name, you know what they do," Jordan said.

For Eldorado Middle School Math Teacher Lori Quigley, it's a bond like no other.

"It is family, it is small town, togetherness, everybody backs everybody," Quigley said.

WSIL-TV Producer Kenzie Dillow, from Union County, took us to the sheep farm she grew up on in Anna.

"My entire family is from Union County, my grandma is one of 17 so we have a large family and it's very very important to me," Dillow said.

She tells me how her family didn't have a lot of money growing up and farm life taught her the value of hard work.

"As soon as you can walk and put your own boots on, you are down at the farm working," Dillow said. "If I didn't have this, I would be someone completely different."

Around southern Illinois, you'll find many people involved in their communities, like Carbondale City Councilwoman Carolyn Harvey, who also serves as a board member for the African American Museum, Board Chair for the Women's Center, NAACP Membership Chair, volunteer for the honor flight and so much more.

"I feel blessed that God gives me 24 hours every day and it's my responsibly to use those 24 hours responsibly," Harvey said.

For Harvey, she values the exposure in southern Illinois. 

"Exposure to culture, to people from all over the world that I would normally not meet," Harvey said. “Exposure to some of the world's problems, they give me a way of looking at things differently, exposure to also arts and entertainment and food and all types of different things.” 

Throughout "Going Global," we met people from all over the world, who now call southern Illinois home, like Dr. Thierry Ngansop from Cameroon who works in Herrin. 

"It really took a village to get me to where I'm at now," Dr. Ngansop said.

We met the Chang family in Carbondale, who cherishes both their Taiwanese and American culture.

"This is home, home sweet home," Marc Chang said.

We saw how Irma Thomas went from working as a migrant farm worker to running her own business. 

"Whatever you want, you just gotta work for it," Thomas said.

And SIU Professor Dr. Pradeep Ambati introduced us to some of his Indian culture and Hindu traditions. 

"I see Lord Ganesha every day, right before I walk out,"  Dr. Ambati said.

Murphysboro Councilwoman Gloria Campos, from Nicaragua, took us inside her home.

“Here we are with a beautiful backyard, wonderful family and big roots in Murphysboro," Campos said.

We met Ali, the newest addition of Sudanese PhD Candidate, Omer Elsanusi's family.

"I can't even express how joyful it is to have a baby in our life," Elsanusi said.

2nd generation Italian American Cheryl Ranchino Trench told us the story about her grandparents immigrating to the United States.

"So those of us who have ties to our Italian heritage, we're very proud of it," Ranchino said.

And we met Marion business owner Yada Natisri from Thailand, and later learned that her husband, Thanet, helped in the Thai rescue mission.

"I'm really thankful for this country to open an opportunity for me," Natisri said.

Most admit there are problems around southern Illinois, like any other place in the world, but it's still a place many are proud to call home. 

"I think it's a great place to live, a great place to raise a family," Jordan said. "I'm proud to be from southern Illinois."

Dillow and others highlighted in this segment are proud to call southern Illinois home.

"And it may be one of the smallest communities in the world, but, it's a loving community that's always welcoming," Dillow said.

Below you will find a list of all eight "Going Global" episodes.

A special thanks to those who shared their stories and everyone who contributed in helping bring this segment to life.

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