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posted: 4/12/2014 8:00 AM

Lake in the Hills seeks funds for veterans memorial

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Lake in the Hills officials are trying to raise money for a memorial to honor veterans who have served.

The village has allocated $40,000 in this year's budget as seed money for the project and collected roughly $2,000 through fundraising efforts since last fall, said village board member Russ Ruzanski, also chairman of the veterans memorial committee.

"We need a substantial amount more than that," he said.

Ruzanski said it could cost up to $250,000 to erect the memorial, including in-kind donations.

Preliminary conceptual designs for the memorial includes five large slabs of granite representing each of the branches of the military connected by a 2-foot-high wall. It would be erected behind village hall at 600 Harvest Gate.

An American flag would stand in the center of the memorial, flanked by an Illinois state flag on one side and a flag representing prisoners of war and those missing in action on the other.

"Those three flags will be predominantly displayed," Ruzanski said.

Ruzanski said Village President Paul Mulcahy had been trying to drum up support for the project for several years, and Ruzanski made it a goal of his own election campaign. Both men are Navy veterans who served during the Vietnam War.

"Between Paul and I, we were able to convince the board members to pursue this," said Ruzanski, who served two 10-month deployments in Vietnam aboard an aircraft carrier.

Earlier this year, village officials visited memorials in several communities, including Schaumburg, Streamwood, West Dundee and West Chicago, to get ideas for their project.

"The one that we got the most ideas from was Streamwood," Ruzanski said. "That village dedicated a huge portion of their village hall property as well to that. There is a whole area dedicated to each branch and it's got a walkway winding throughout it."

However, Streamwood's memorial is far more elaborate than what Lake in the Hills has envisioned.

Officials plan to raise funds at community events, including the Memorial Day parade, Ribfest in July, two summer outdoor concerts, and the Summer Sunset Fest over Labor Day weekend.

"We will have a table (at Ribfest) to solicit donations," Ruzanski said. "Once we have the plans drawn up and we know how many bricks, stones and trees are needed, we will put together a program for buying bricks."

Ruzanski said Castle Bank already has committed to giving $10,000 to purchase one of the memorial pillars. Some bank locations also are accepting donations for the veteran's memorial fund.

When it comes time for actual construction, "we're going to pursue gifts in kind," Ruzanski said. "We have some area contractors here that we will be talking to that will help us with the work."

Contributions can be sent to Village Hall, 600 Harvest Gate, Lake in the Hills, 60156. For details, call (847) 960-7400.

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