Volunteers driving memorial renovations


BYRON – A generous Byron area community has worked quickly together to provide time, talent, and the financial resources to begin renovations of the Veterans Memorial located at 405 E. 5th St.

The project, led by Byron Kiwanis, had a Big Day on June 17th with a team of incredible volunteers – a skilled group, with lots of talent, tools, drive and “can do” attitudes.

Steven Benesh & Sons Excavating volunteered expertise, patience and a 544k Wheel Loader. It made the 5,000 pound howitzer look small and moving it seem easy. They will return to move the howitzer onto it is new concrete slab after reconstruction.

A great group of Kiwanis members and Exelon employees from E*MAC (Exelon Militaries Actively Connected) gave of their afternoon because honoring Veterans is important to all of them. As a group they have been instrumental in finding resources, procuring equipment for demolition, engendering enthusiasm and being a conduit to the Byron Exelon Generating Station site VP.

With the help of the Byron Township Road Commissioner and crew, we carefully removed elements of the existing design that will remain, which include battlefield crosses, memorial benches, and granite memorial marker stones. They provided equipment, talent, and solutions. Their work is not done as they will help distribute recyclable materials next week.

The Byron Edward Jones office provided cold beverages on a hot day, gave of their time and will be picking up for the four new/additional flagpoles in Oak Creek, Wis.

King Blacktop furnished dump trucks, recycled the old asphalt and concrete and are making good use of the mulch and dirt we removed.

The following day, NW Concrete outlined the new concrete design and will begin laying forms on June 21st with trenching and electrical for lighting to soon follow. Byron Public Works blocked the streets for deconstruction and were at the project site on June 18th when we had “easement” questions. The City of Byron Planning and Development Director joined us to talk through the plan as well. With a community of enthusiasm and collaboration, we ensure a project done right.

New U.S. and military flags will be coming from the All American Flag Company in South Elgin. When we are ready, they will travel to Byron to professionally install 9 flagpoles: U.S., Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Merchant Marine, POW/MIA and Space Force.

A permanent, static Donor Recognition Plaque will be erected at the new Veterans Memorial. Individuals, civic groups, and businesses will be listed. All donors contributing by Aug. 1, 2021, will be included on the plaque.  Any money raised over the construction amount will be held for future Memorial needs.

The dedication ceremony will be planned around Veterans Day, with more details to come as the date approaches.

You can learn more about the project, find photos, updates and click on a link to donate online on our Facebook page (Byron Cemetery Veterans Memorial Renovation).

Tax-deductible donations can also be mailed to: Kiwanis Club of Byron Foundation, Attn: Veterans Memorial, PO Box 555, Byron, IL 61010.

For questions, please contact Michelle: 815-985-5102 or malbert6@comcast.net.