Baby of Hope: Bourbonnais couple brought in Kankakee County’s first new bundle of joy in 2021


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The start of the new year will have an extra special meaning to Bourbonnais couple Ryan and Blair Lillis.

Ryan, who works in the public works department for the Village of Bourbonnais, and Blair, an ICU nurse at AMITA St. Mary’s Hospital in Kankakee, hold the distinction of having the first baby of 2021 in Kankakee County.

The couple welcomed Ramsey Martin Lillis into this world at 6:45 p.m. New Year’s Day. He weighed 7.2 ounces, measured 21 inches long and was born at St. Mary’s.

Ramsey’s arrival came two days early — his due date actually was Jan. 3 — and Ryan concedes the thought of having the first baby of 2021 within the county was not front-and-center in the days and weeks leading up to the delivery. 

“It didn’t really cross our minds when we were heading to the hospital,” he said. “What’s funny is we never really discussed that. We never really knew or thought that of it in quite that way, though I guess we knew it was a possibility.”

For the Lillis family, an addition to the family provides fresh perspective on the heels of a challenging 2020. Ryan said he and his wife look to 2021 with renewed hope.

“It was definitely a challenging year, just with everything going on,” Ryan said. “I think bringing a baby in and starting 2021 is definitely a great positive note. Hopefully that means it will be a positive year for us and our family.”

Ramsey joins two older brothers in the Lillis household. Ryan and Blair’s oldest son, Jace, is 5, and their middle son, Tanner, is 3.

From his fatherly perspective, Ryan said the progression within his children leaves him in a constant sense of awe, particularly when viewed through the lens of their current ages. 

“It’s really just amazing,” he said of the progression. “It all just happens so fast.”

As 2021 gets underway, Ryan said he and Blair are looking ahead to the year keenly aware of their blessings.

“We’ve been fortunate,” he said. “Neither of us has been affected with our jobs or anything.”

Dave Fidlin
Dave Fidlin
Dave Fidlin is a veteran journalist, with 20 years experience, who has a passion for community news because no two communities are alike! Follow him on Twitter at @dfidlin_writer.


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