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Veterans to be honored 'monumentally' at park

Date: 1/13/2010

Jan. 13, 2010.

By Katelyn Gendron

Reminder Assistant Editor

WESTFIELD -- There was something missing for Bob McKean when he became director of Stanley Park one year ago -- a veterans' memorial.

McKean has been laboring since that time to ensure a monument honoring servicemen and women stand erected on park grounds. His mission, with help from many in the community, will become a reality on Memorial Day.

"From day one at Stanley Park, Bob McKean has been dedicated to incorporating this monument [into the park]," Rob Levesque, a member of the park's board of directors and designer of the monument, said.

"The board was there with him from the beginning," Levesque continued. "I think it's important to say [that] from the beginning, Bob McKean has been the champion of this [project]. Hats off to Bob."

McKean told Reminder Publications the $20,000 project is not about him or his vision but the "men and women who served, past, present and future."

"You can't do enough for the veterans," he added.

McKean noted the Veterans' Volunteer Memorial Committee is also eager to complete the project in memory of its former chair, the late Robert Vogle, a World War II veteran. Retired Col. Michael Boulanger, United States Air Force, was named the committee's new chair last week.

"Whatever you can do to recognize the people who've served our country is very important," Boulanger said. "You can never have enough [monuments honoring veterans]."

Levesque, of R. Levesque Associates Inc., noted the donated design and monument will honor all five branches of the military and the Merchant Marines.

"We wanted an area where we could have ceremonies and [also] a place where people could donate [pavers] or contemplate and think about their loved ones," he explained of the design.

McKean said the committee is currently seeking bidders for excavation as well as continuing its fundraising efforts. He added that construction should begin as soon as the ground thaws with a projected completion date of May 31.