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INSIDE SUZIE: How a Geneseo family is honoring a one of their own in a special way

GENESEO, Illinois -- For decades, the Pettit family has been a fixture in the Geneseo community. Bob Pettit was the longtime coach of Maple Leaf softball. Now, the Pettit's are honoring an important member of their family in a special way.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a good book must be worth a million. For Ginny Pettit, that's true.

"Suzie's mom and dad loved her so much and thought she was the cutest little girl they had ever seen," said Ginny Pettit, reading from "Inside Suzie".

Suzie is one of Ginny and Bob Pettit's six children.

"She was feisty really, kind of feisty," described Pettit.

Feisty, yet different than any of her siblings.

"We really didn't know she was going to have any problems until she was a about a year old. She hadn't started walking  or doing the things that a lot of one-year-olds do."

Her official diagnosis was developmentally delayed, but her family never treated her any differently.

"Everyone was so joyful when they saw her, especially family," said Joey Pettit, Suzie's sister. "We always joked that my grandma didn't have a favorite, except maybe Suzie."

An inspiration for Suzie's family and community and the reason why Ginny put pen to paper.

"I think I wrote this book 30 years ago. I just put it on the back burner," said Ginny.

The book is called "Inside Suzie" and it gives a voice to the voiceless. Joey, Suzie's sister, illustrated the book.

"For my first big project to be something so close to home...you just want to get it right. I wanted to do a service to her, to Suzie, and to Suzie's memory," said Joey.

"That they won't be afraid of disabled kids, that 'hey, I can just walk up to them and say hi' and they'd really enjoy that...that's our hope for this book," said Ginny.

While it took them a couple of years to come up with a finished product, the goal never wavered.

"We just always felt it was God's timing. It'll come out when it's ready to come out, and it'll touch the people it's supposed to touch," said Ginny.

Suzie passed away in 2014 but her legacy is worth more than a thousand words or memories could capture.

 

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