Vietnam Veterans Moving Wall Announces $25,000 Sponsorship from Fifth Third Bank
AURORA, Ill., Sept. 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Fifth Third Bank Senior Vice President Craig Pratt presented a $25,000 check to Vietnam Moving Wall Committee Chair Herschel Luckinbill during a Sept. 11 press conference on the practice soccer field of West Aurora High School.
The funds will help bring Luckinbill's dream to life – to have Aurora host this national traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial around Veterans Day.
The display and other military exhibits and memorabilia will be stationed in the West Aurora soccer field located at Plum Street and Commonwealth Avenue from Nov. 7 through 11. Also on display will be the Illinois Fallen Heroes Traveling Memorial and a model of the World War II Memorial.
Luckinbill is the president of the Fox Valley Veterans Breakfast Club, which is working with community volunteers to bring the Moving Wall to Aurora. It hasn't been in Aurora in nearly 25 years.
Luckinbill took on the effort to bring the Moving Wall back to Aurora in 2013 in part to recognize the nation's commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam conflict.
Speaking as a Marine veteran and also as representative for the 84th District, Rep. Stephanie Kifowit thanked presenting sponsor Fifth Third Bank and the many other sponsors and volunteers involved in bringing the Moving Wall to Aurora.
"I'm honored to be in front of you today," Kifowit said as she held up the MIA/POW bracelet she still wears daily that bears the name of a Vietnam vet whose name is also on the Wall. Kifowit noted that more than three million people fought in Vietnam, and 300,000 were wounded in action. "They came back with scars that were seen or unable to be seen. And there are still 1,000 individuals who are missing in action," she added.
Bob Patterson also spoke during the Sept. 11 press conference with wife Mary beside him. Their son, Christopher, was a 2009 graduate of West Aurora High School. He was killed in action in Afghanistan on Jan. 6, 2012.
Fighting tears, Bob Patterson said that, "over 6,000 men, women, boys and girls have faced the ultimate sacrifice (in the War in Afghanistan).
"A year and a half ago, our son joined those numbers. Since then, we have seen the generosity, warm hearts and patriotism of the American people for the families of all of our warriors," Patterson said before adding that, "40 years ago, many families had someone come home broken, with no warm welcome and no applause."
"I would just like to ask that everyone here would please take the time and effort to say thank you to every vet you see from that era," he said.
Assistant Chief of Staff Chuck Nelson spoke and conveyed the mayor and town's appreciation for the efforts of all those who are bringing the Moving Wall to Aurora. "The memorial with 58,282 names is a true tribute to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice and those who came home," Nelson said.
West Aurora High School Director of Patriotism Rudy Keller, who emceed the event, said although the Moving Wall is being hosted by School District 129, it is an entire Fox Valley community event. He read the names of several large sponsors, including Dieterle Memorial Home of Montgomery, Aurora Fastprint, Inc., Weldstar Co. and Wegman Construction.
Visitors to the Moving Wall also will be able to visit the nearby Healing Field and walk among more than 2,000 flags with family and friends.
Anyone interested in making donations should contact Herschel Luckinbill at 630-801-9591. Area volunteers are needed to help staff this major undertaking. To sign up or get more information about the Moving Wall programs visit vietnammovingwallaurora.org.
Herschel Luckinbill, Chairman, The Moving Wall Committee, firstname.lastname@example.org,
Amy Roth, Media Representative, The Moving Wall Committee, email@example.com,
SOURCE The Moving Wall Committee