Georgetown seeking area veterans' names for memorial

Wink Mahoney and his committee are searching out all veterans in the Georgetown area.

Mahoney and five other Georgetown residents are gathering names of veterans of all wars except World War II for an all-other-wars memorial that will be constructed in the town's square.

"The primary purpose is to honor the people from Georgetown who served," said Mahoney, who's a history and genealogy buff and chairman of the committee that's gathering veteran names.

The all-other-wars project is separate from a project to honor World War II veterans from Georgetown. That memorial is being built in Georgetown's square. The all-other-wars memorial will eventually be built in the square, too, on property donated by the city.

Mary Taran, a member of the city's planning commission, is serving as liaison between the all-other-wars committee and the city.

Many citizens have expressed their desire for the memorial, and the planning commission was looking for another long-term community project.

The memorial project seemed like a perfect fit, Taran said, and now seemed the time to launch the effort to gather all the names.

The committee is making a plea to the Georgetown community to contact them with names of relatives and friends who served during wartime.

Taran said it's important for these veterans to be honored and remembered, and the project is important for the community's children and grandchildren.

"It's important for them to know their relatives and friends have been active in preserving our freedom and democracy," she said. "It's important that these people from our little town are remembered."

To qualify for the memorial, veterans should have lived within the boundaries of, or graduated from, the Georgetown High School or Georgetown-Ridge Farm High School. And they must have served during the specified dates for each war. Taran said if anyone has questions about whether a veteran is eligible or not, they should call one of the committee members. They do not want to overlook any veteran.

Taran said the all-other-wars memorial will be an extension of the World War II memorial and will provide an important piece of the history of Georgetown, starting with the Civil War.

Committee member Susan Riggle already has most, if not all, of the names and information for the Civil War part of the project. Riggle began researching that part of the town's history long ago, and has quite a collection on the topic.

Mahoney said this project is an opportunity not only to honor veterans, but also to gather local history and provide people with information when they're doing family histories. Mahoney, who's involved with the Illiana Genealogical Society, said he plans to make an additional booklet, containing the information gathered during this project. He said this type of information can be very useful to people researching genealogies.

"As many sources of information you can give people, the better," he said.

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