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Gold Star families dedicate Fallen Hero Wall of Honor in Bloomington

Wall of Fallen Heroes
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Members of the American Legion Post 79 in LeRoy were among the military veterans and families who gathered on Veterans Day for a wall of honor dedication at Casper Brewing Company in Bloomington.

A new memorial in Bloomington honors nine soldiers from central Illinois who died in combat.

Casper Brewing Company hosted Gold Star families for a Veterans Day unveiling of the Fallen Hero Wall of Honor.

American flag
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A memorial display for nine fallen central Illinois soldiers was dedicated as Casper Brewing Company in Bloomington on Friday.

“For me, it’s to provide hope and healing to our Gold Star families,” said Frances Maddox, a Gold Star mother. Her son, U.S. Army Sgt. Anthony Maddox of Bloomington, died in Afghanistan in 2013 as age 22.

Frances Maddox worked with the brewery to house the memorial. Art Rodriguez, a board member with America's Gold Star Families, said American Legion Post 79 in LeRoy helped cover the cost for the wall of honor.

“It forces people to think about the things you take for granted, your freedom of speech, your right to vote, your expressions that you have, your liberties and what sacrifices were done,” Rodriguez said. “These are more than what I did in the service. These are (those who made) the ultimate sacrifice.”

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Erik Dedo
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WGLT
Members of the American Legion Post 79 in LeRoy was among the military veterans and families who gathered on Veterans Day for a wall of honor dedication at Casper Brewing Company in Bloomington.

Frances Maddox also helped develop the hometown heroes banner program. Banners set up across Bloomington-Normal recognize local active duty, fallen or missing-in-action military service members.

Maddox said the tribute wall helps keep memories of these soldiers and their sacrifices alive.

“There’s two deaths that occur. The first one is when they take their last breath and then the second is when we forget their name and never speak their name again,” Maddox said.

The fallen soldiers cited on the wall span from World War II to Vietnam to the war in Afghanistan, where four of them died. They are:

  • Sgt. Joshua P. Rodgers, served from 2013-2017, U.S. Army, Afghanistan
  • Frank (Butch) Pistole, served from 1940-1942, U.S. Marine Corp (USMC) and U.S Navy, WWII (rank is unknown)
  • Pvt. Francis (Butch) G. Moews, served from 1943-1945, U.S. Army, WWII
  • 2nd Lt. Larry G. Stone, served from 1963-1967, USMC, Vietnam
  • Pfc. Raymond G. Witzig, served from 1967-1968 , U.S. Army, Vietnam
  • Sgt. Joseph M. Ekstam, served from 1988-2000, U.S. Army, Bosnia
  • Sgt. Anthony R. Maddox, served from 2011-2013, U.S. Army, Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan
  • Maj. Reid B. Nannen, served from 2004-2014, USMC, Afghanistan
  • Sgt. Edmund David Zuck II, served from 2008-2015, U.S. Army, Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan
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Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.
Erik Dedo is a reporting and audio production intern at WGLT. He joined the station in 2022.
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