Dedication Monday For New Veterans Monument
By ANNE LUNDE
Journal & Topics Reporter
When Alex Podgor, 17, started looking for a project to accomplish as part of his requirements to become an Eagle Scout, he noticed that Rosemont did not have a monument to veterans.
That inspired him to visit Mayor Brad Stephens and propose that his project would create such a monument. That was almost a year ago.
As a son of Troop 20 Scoutmaster Allen Podgor, Alex already knew some of the things he would have to accomplish: plan the project; get permissions; raise funds as needed; and recruit help from fellow scouts and others to get it finished.
Working with public works Director Michael Raimondi, Alex looked at possible spaces. They settled on an area north of Higgins Road and west of the Jane Addams Tollway (I-90) bridge, in the extension of Stephens Park.
Recently a series of flagpoles have started to emerge above the park.
The dedication ceremony is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Memorial Day (Monday, May 29) and everyone is welcome to attend.
Alex’s mother, Eileen, said that the timing for the ceremony was important in several ways.
Eagle Scouts must complete their requirements before their 18th birthday.
Alex, graduating this week from East Leyden High School, already has plans for his future. He wants to serve in the U.S. Army Infantry.
When his parents were on a vacation earlier this year, Alex headed to an Army recruitment office and enlisted -- although he wasn’t quite old enough and had to bring his parents back for their permission.
He also became friends with members of the Des Plaines American Legion Post 36, who recruited him for membership as soon as he was an official recruit.
Through his various contacts, even scheduling the ceremony on Memorial Day weekend was tough.
The Des Plaines Legion participates in a Memorial Day morning ceremony at Lake Park (Touhy Avenue and Lee Street).
Local scouts will be busy the weekend before, decorating graves at All Saints Cemetery.
Alex may not be here every year for subsequent ceremonies. He’ll start boot camp in August as he turns 18, and has signed up for three years.
But he’s leaving his own legacy for future generations in Rosemont, and a place where those with military service can be remembered and celebrated.
According to Mayor Brad Stephens, Alex came up with the idea and has been working with Northern Builders and the village’s public works department to build the setting. The cost of the project will be between $10,000 and $12,000. Whatever Alex can’t raise on his own, will be covered by the village, said Stephens.
Alex is scheduled to emcee next Monday’s event.