New flagpole, monument honor veterans at St. Mary of Lourdes

Photo Caption: Father Gregory Jozefiak sprinkles holy water Sept. 7 on the new flagpole and monument commemorating sacrifices made by veterans of all wars.

By: By Jennifer Willems

GERMANTOWN HILLS — Giving thanks for the work they do, which involves them in “the creativeness of almighty God,” those who attended Mass at St. Mary of Lourdes Church on Labor Day also thanked veterans for the work they have done to keep America safe.

After the liturgy they gathered around a new flagpole and monument commemorating the sacrifices made by men and women in all armed conflicts for a blessing by Father Gregory Jozefiak, pastor. The ceremony included the Pledge of Allegiance and a 21-gun salute.

Some of the veterans, who wore the caps and insignia of their service, grew emotional as they heard “Taps” played on the trumpet by Adam Schmillen of neighboring St. Mary Parish in Metamora.

The new feature at the entrance to the parish grounds is the work of Eagle Scout candidate Jacob Fisher of Boy Scout Troop 165, Germantown Hills. He coordinated the project with the help of Rich Flavin.

The marble monument, which reads “All gave some/Some gave all/God bless our veterans,” also bears a bronze plaque in memory of Fred Fandel, a Korean War veteran who died a year ago in May. Flavin is married to Fandel’s daughter, Kelly, and they offered the memorials donated by Fandel’s family, friends and fellow parishioners to the project.

“If you needed something done around here, Fred got it done or he got a group of guys together,” Flavin said. “Fred did countless hours of free labor. He would take care of the grotto — he was a bricklayer, so he and some other people were able to keep it up.”

He said it was Father Jozefiak’s idea to add the plaque with Fandel’s name.

Fisher, a junior at Peoria Notre Dame High School, is actually a member of St. Mary Parish in Metamora, where Father Jozefiak is also the pastor. He was happy to oblige when Flavin approached him last summer with the priest’s idea for the flagpole and monument, which are lighted so they can be seen when people drive by.

Fisher was responsible for pricing the materials and coordinating the worksite. It took two or three days to clean the area and bring what they would need and then two more work days on the project itself. The flag was officially raised a week later, after the lighting had been installed.

He said the purpose of an Eagle Scout project is “to do something to help your community — any community organization other than the Boy Scouts. It could be churches, fire stations, public parks.”

Veterans exemplify that model of service and more, Father Jozefiak said in his homily.

“The work of our veterans has been the work of sacrifice. We cannot forget that,” he said. “The greatest work we can do is the giving of ourselves for the sake of another.”

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