Monday, May 17, 2010

Why Improvements are needed for the Village Veteran’s Memorial

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Why Improvements are needed for the Village Veteran’s Memorial
By Trustee George Pastorino
Village of Justice

I would like to provide a little background little that might be helpful in understanding the genesis of this project.

When I was the Administration, Buildings and Grounds Committee chair I went to the Memorial to study it and try to come up with some ideas to improve it. My conclusion was that the location was cramped and noisy and the improvements would not fit there. My idea was to move it to Lipinski, but several weeks ago we changed committee's and I was put in charge of Public Safety.

This is when my colleague Kinga Bartozek took over. At that time the Park District had a landscaper working on Park District property, so she asked the Parks Districts Joe Vallez if they could take a look at the Memorial and give her some ideas on improving it a bit for this year.....but not too expensive because we were going to move it in 2011.

 It was then that Joe Vallez asked what would become of the empty property after the Memorial was moved. He was told that we planned to put some grass in and leave it empty. That's when Joe asked if we would consider an agreement in which the Park District would bear all costs of the move including a spot in Commissioners Park that would be more visible than Lipinski. It was a win-win, since we had already decided that in order to the needed improvements, we were going to move it.

The timeline is important, because it is being spun that The Park District approached us to move the monument in order to put up a sign, this is completely opposite from the truth. We had already decided that moving it would be the only way to make the improvements that out veterans deserve. These include several rows of benches, a memorial garden, a wall with our Veterans names on it and much more room for Color Guards and High School Bands and perhaps a canon other decommissioned Military Memorabilia. So with the move decision made, there was no reason not to cooperate with the Park District concerning the soon to be vacant land.

My wife is at home recovering from surgery and today we got a visit from Don McGuire and his wife Jean. I served 2 years with Don on the Justice Police & Fire Commission and I know that Don comes from a family of Veterans and is very proud to be a Navy Vet. Don was very pleased with the proposed move and improvements to the Memorial
He says that it shows that The Village Board has not forgotten about their Vets and is being proactive in moving the Memorial from a location that is cramped and noisy.

Finally, this issue is not about lights or any one item, it’s about providing our Veterans with a much larger, more reflective Memorial that is more in keeping with the very high regard we have for them. My father, George Pastorino Sr. was shot through the back in the Korean War and had a lifetime of pain after the war ended. He taught me to respect the men who serve. He also reminded me that you don’t have to be a Veteran to be a patriotic American or to honor our Veterans. I am confidant that when all work is complete the Justice Veterans will have a Memorial that they are proud of.

George J. Pastorino
Trustee, Village
 of Justice

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