- COMMUNITY LINKS
It's a community project that everyone wishes never had to be undertaken.
Plans are under way to add a memorial stone in Evergreen Park to honor Staff Sgt. Ken VanGiesen, a Kane native who was killed in Afghanistan last July while serving with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard.
The Eagles Club in Kane has purchased the stone, which is similar to those already located in the memorial area at the "point" at Evergreen Park. The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and other Kane organizations are contributing to cover the cost of the community project to honor VanGiesen.
Other memorial stones contain plaques that honor Kane soldiers killed in World War I, World War II, the Korean Conflict and the Vietnam War. The new stone will be marked "Operation Enduring Freedom-- Afghanistan."
VanGiesen's name will be the lone local casualty listed on the new stone.
"We're very honored that our community is doing this," Gold Star Mother Sue VanGiesen said Friday. "It makes you fell good that people haven't forgotten."
At the same time, she said the establishment of a memorial to her son is "bittersweet" for the family.
Tom VanGiesen, father of the soldier, said he is "pleased our town is doing this."
"We appreciate everything the town has done for our family," VanGiesen said. "I feel good that I'm from Kane."
Don Chittester, the commander of the VFW, said the tentative plans call for adding the stone to the memorial section at the park in time for the annual Memorial Day program May 28.
Chittester said "the people of the Kane community don't forget what our soldiers have done for us."
The VFW commander, who is 85 years old, served with the Navy Seabees in World War II. He said he was personal friends with many of the Kane residents who are listed as casualties on the World War II stone at the park.
"I played baseball with a lot of them," he said.
Barb Gadley-Cheeks, secretary of the Eagles Club, said the "stone is already purchased." She said the VFW and other local organizations such as the Lions Club, the Rotary Club and the Elks Lodge have either donated to the memorial fund or are planning to donate.
Individuals also are encouraged to donate to the memorial fund.
See full article by purchasing the March 10 edition of The Kane Republican.