FLASHBACK – A group observes the Hometown Heroes wall of military veterans located in the Evans Town Hall, during the opening reception. Photo provided by Bill Parker.
EVANS — Just before Independence Day of this year, Evans erected a memorial to past and present veterans in the town hall: Hometown Heroes.
DEDICATION – Artwork by high school student Al Butlak centers the wall of framed photos remembering Evans’ military veterans. Photo by Alicia Greco.
Lining the walls are photographs in black frames. Some images are vintage, telling a historical story. Some images are vibrant, new and fresh, evoking a sense of the present.
According to Evans representatives, the purpose is to have this wall be timeless.
“It’s the community’s way of thanking those who served for our country,” said organizer Linda Chapple, a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary.
The unveiling took place on July 2, kicking off the town’s Fourth of July festivities.
“It was overdue,” Chapple said. “Something that should’ve been done a long time ago.”
The military service runs in her family. Chapple is a military daughter, a Vietnam widow and mother to a son in the military. As she spoke about the wall and what its significance is to her and people like her, her eyes welled up with tears.
“The day of the event, I was completely taken aback by the response,” she said. Since it was a holiday weekend, she said that she was uncertain of the attendance, but the parking lot was packed and the event was bustling.
The creation was a community effort. The centerpiece of the wall is an artwork commissioned from Lake Shore High School student Al Butlak. His Americanism artwork is entirely hand-drawn, with ink.
Chapple brought her idea to the town board a year ago and said that it took only a few weeks to get approval.
The VFW had Daniel Kowal of from Boy Scout pack 528 open the event, with the Pledge of Allegiance.
Edward Dinkuhn, of Eddie D’s Kardin Custom, engraved the nameplates beneath the photos. Chapple is working to include a biography for each hero, so Evans residents can read about how each person relates to the community.
Two flags at the entrance of the hallway were bought by the town. This wall was done via involvement from the town board and Diana Cafferty.
According to Evans representatives, this wall will be up “forever” and is open for anyone to observe. It will continue to grow, as more applications are submitted. To download an application, visit www.townofevans.org.