Carol Stream Veterans Memorial Plaza
Honoring local veterans of yesteryear, today and tomorrow is the focus of the new Carol Stream Veterans Memorial Plaza at Carol Stream’s Town Center, 960 N. Gary Ave.
The plaza was dedicated on Memorial Day, May 27, 2019, with presentations by community leaders, a ceremonial flag raising and ribbon cutting. VFW Post 10396 Commander Jim Benzin began the dedication by thanking all those who contributed and put their heart and soul into the project, which spanned three years.
Benzin was the first to propose the project; it began as a request that the Carol Stream Park District spruce up Memorial Park with new plants. Park District Executive Director Jim Reuter took Benzin’s request further and with the support of the park district board and community, this request became a community vision.
A task force consisting of veterans from the Carol Stream VFW Post 10396 and American Legion Post 76; Village of Carol Stream trustees; park district board members and staff plus many volunteers worked on the project. Village President Frank Saverino proposed the plaza be built in Town Center, the village hub, home to summer concerts, events and scenic landscaping.
With over 400 donors and 20 fundraisers, “every dollar counted,” said Park Board Commissioner Jacqueline Jeffery. The task force raised $230,000 to complete the plaza, which includes granite monuments with bronze medallions representing the five U.S. military branches: Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines and Navy. A curved seat wall, precast star design, commemorative bricks, military flags, new LED lighting and beautiful landscaping enhance the plaza.
A special seating area in the plaza for thought and reflection overlooks a memorial stone. Originally dedicated to the first Vietnam service member from Carol Stream to be killed in the line of duty, the memorial stone recognizes local fallen police officers, veterans and firefighters for their service and duty. The local Rolling Thunder chapter donated a beautiful monument to remember POWs and those missing in action.
The project was embraced by the community, and top business donors include Bird Contracting Inc., DuPage Foundation, Flood Brothers, Spraying Systems, Patriot Transport, Tracy’s Bistro, VFW Post 10396, Ozinga Ready Mix, Joe Cotton Ford and Saverino & Associates. Many organizations, restaurants and community members contributed as well including A.J. LaRocca Memorial Fund, American Legion Post 76, Rotary Club of Carol Stream, Community Consolidated District 93 and Culver’s of Carol Stream.
The new Veterans Memorial Plaza will be used for services on Memorial Day and other holidays, and serve as beautiful gathering place for the community.