Auburn JROTC cadets adopt Rockford roundabout project

Auburn JROTC leadership staff photo_March 6 2019_Beautify Veterans Memorial Circle project
Auburn JROTC leadership staff photo_March 6 2019_Beautify Veterans Memorial Circle project
The leadership staff of Auburn High School’s Army JROTC battalion voted March 6, 2019 to adopt Beautify Veterans Memorial Circle as their community service project. At the left are project chairs Rick Westlake and Ernie Redfern; front center are Knight Battalion instructors Col. David Draeger and 1st Sgt. Lon Pettigrew. / Photo by Helen Karakoudas Redfern
Auburn JROTC officer LaDarius Jackson, a junior at Auburn High, meets with project chair Rick Westlake. / Photo by Helen Karakoudas Redfern

Community commitment is growing in Rockford, Ill. for a neighborhood initiative to beautify the roundabout at North Main and Auburn streets and make it what neighbors call a fitting tribute to local vets.

Before classes started at Auburn High School on Wednesday morning, March 6, 2019, the Friends of Veterans Memorial Circle committee was there to address the leadership staff of the school’s Army JROTC battalion. (Junior Reserved Officers’ Training Corps)

“You guys are the best kept secret in town, and we really could use your help with this,” Rick Westlake, project chair, told the 15 cadets present at the battalion’s weekly leadership meeting.

He and project co-chairs Ernie Redfern and Helen Karakoudas Redfern reviewed the military history of this crossroads in Rockford, 3 miles east of the high school.

They pointed out how the appearance of the roundabout has declined since its dedication in 2013 as Veterans Memorial Circle and asked for the cadets’ help with Spruce-Up Day on May 11, 2019 and with the rededication ceremony May 19, 2019.

The cadets went beyond these requests and voted unanimously to adopt the Beautify Veterans Memorial Circle project as their ongoing community service project.

To learn more about the project and how you too can help, please visit RockfordVeteransCircle.org.

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