'It's a path for all veterans': Path of Honor completes vision in Wauconda

Wauconda officials, honorees and others gathered Friday afternoon to unveil the Path of Honor and celebrate a mission accomplished.

The path was the final leg of the original concept plan for the village's Heroes of Freedom Memorial, dedicated in 2015, near Route 176 and Main Street.

Commonly known as the 9/11 memorial, it features a wall listing the names of the people killed in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and a beam from one of the fallen World Trade Center buildings.

The curving, concrete Path of Honor connects the 9/11 memorial and Memorial Park, built in 1948 in honor of veterans of both world wars.

It features two benches, bollard lights, landscaping and a monument dedicated to those who have served and fought to protect our freedom.

"Our mission was to create a tranquil outdoor space where visitors can commemorate friends and loved ones, while paying tribute to their service and sacrifice," said Mayor Jeff Sode.

There were six honorees Friday: James R. Bowden, Army intelligence in the Korean War; Ron Swartz, Army veteran who served in Vietnam; William J. Jongebloed, 3rd Brigade, 82nd Airborne, Vietnam; Edward J. Jungles, Army, 97th Battalion, Battle of the Bulge, World War II; Richard Ravenscraft, Army serving in Vietnam; and, the Wauconda Lions Club.

Sode said the Path of Honor still would be in the concept stage without the village board pushing it forward and the Wauconda Park District approving an agreement to allow for the connection.

Others mentioned were the public works department for setting the monument boulder; Jeff Groh for the initial concept design and renderings; the Wauconda Garden Club for planning and planting; and, Alise Coulter, executive administrative assistant, for leading and coordinating the efforts.

"It's a path for all veterans," Sode said.

He was joined in the ribbon cutting by Trustees Tim Howe and Dave Geary and Wauconda Township Supervisor and former Mayor Lincoln Knight. Howe and Knight were on the village board that vowed to complete the project in 2017.

Sponsorships and memorial plaques are available. Visit

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  A group of people gathered Friday afternoon on a new paved path leading to the base of the Wauconda Sept. 11 memorial during a dedication of the Path of Honor, which joins Memorial Park with the Sept. 11 memorial at Route 176 and Main Street. John Starks/
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