At the recent Author's Night at the Crawfordsville District Public Library, I sat by the nicest young man, named John Sands.

I liked him from the start, but when he told me that it was the plan that his book, The Lottery Winner, came out on his deceased father's birthday, I knew he was a true genealogical-oriented pal.  John graduated from North Montgomery High School, although he spent much of his school career in Western Springs Illinois, where his high school class had 5,000 students.  There, he was active in band, track, cross country, church and ran a paper route.  

It was while he was going by his own church on his route he had a chance encounter with a famous individual.  Erma, the wife of George Beverly Shea, famed Gospel singer and the one to make How Great Thou Art famous, was being buried.  As the mourners filed out, the great Gospelist, Billy Graham, stood before John Sands. Certainly, a moment to remember! 

From their home 20 minutes from the Chicago loop, the Sands family actually returned to Montgomery County, where his father, Jerry Sands, worked for R.R. Donnelley.  

The Sands family consisted of Jerry, John, mom Janice (who brought John goodies as she was worried that he came to the Author's Night without a meal - John's very lovely and fun wife, Marcie, brought him a sandwich and fries so John was well taken-care-of), sister Elaine and brother, William.

William is owner of local business, Let a Nerd Fix It!  Mary is also an author (writing under the pen name, Claire Hume) and owner of a publishing company.  John, himself, has worked at R.R. Donnelley for 28 years, beginning in the factory and working himself up to the Tech Service area.  He is an active member of the First Baptist Church and is on their tech team, as well. 

John beams when he discusses his and Marcie's three children, Laura, Katie and Rachel.  Laura works at RPM in Indianapolis, and wants to be a director or producer some day, working in California.  Katie is a mother and has a photography business in Frankfort, Ky.,, while Rachel currently is a hostess at the new Cracker Barrel. One granddaughter completes the John Sands family, but hopefully, there will be more!

John told me that when he met Marcie (Chism) when she was 15 and he was "much older," that she inspired him.  She was such a hard worker, made good grades and he knew he had been slacking. 

Guess what!  

Marcie is still motivating him, but it was at the suggestion of Laura that spurred him on to complete a book idea. The title of John's book tells the topic of the story.  Main character, Bill, wins a lottery, a very large amount of money.  

The twist is, he keeps it a secret.  Through the several months he remains silent about his fortune, his life changes greatly. He takes charge of the furniture factory where he's worked for decades, he has second thoughts about not adopting children and many other changes occur but I promised John I'd not reveal the ending, and so, you'll have to read it for yourself to discover the exciting ending!

So, until next week, I'll see you "Around the County!"

Karen Zach's column, Around The County, will appear each Thursday in The Paper.