By Carter Crane –
The Veterans Serenity Park ground-breaking in Oswego Saturday, April 13 was both the process of a beginning and of a completion for the committee which has been working on the project for nearly a year. The Park projection completion date is November this year. The Park, west of Illinois Route 25, adjacent to the Fox River, and south of downtown, was the site of remarks by invited guests prior to the ceremonial shovels placed into the ground.
Following the Oswego Fire Department Honor Guard’s leading the Pledge of Allegiance, Veterans Serenity Park chairman Dave Krahn, the master of ceremonies, offered opening remarks, including a vision and history of the Park-planning process. He thanked the many individuals who helped with efforts to bring the ground-breaking into focus, including his co-chairman, Herschel Luckinbill, president of the Fox Valley Veterans Breakfast Club.
Other speakers included: Gail Johnson, Oswego Village president; Tony Kolbeck, Illinois State government Department of Veterans Affairs; Lauren Underwood, congresswoman, 14th District, which includes Oswego; Keith Wheeler, Illinois General Assembly, 50th District, and a resident of Oswego; Stephanie Kifowit, Illinois General Assembly, 84th District, and a resident of Oswego; and Joe West, commander, Oswego American Legion Post 675.
All of the speakers, in near unanimity, celebrated the reason for creating the Park, with good wishes for veterans and families of veterans, including those whose died in the military uniform in defense of the United States, to use the Park in serenity. A point of emphasis was for usage of the Park by those veterans who suffer from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).
Following the closing remarks, the presenting individuals and Veterans Serenity Park committee members gathered for photos. Chairman Krahn invited everyone in attendance, approximately 60, to join a group behind the decorated American flags, which were flapping vigorously in the ample wind, for additional photos with an eye to posterity.
Shovels were provided for the ceremonial lifting of the dirt and the Veterans Serenity Park officially was under way. Work will begin shortly and will be ongoing for the next seven or eight months.