Gleenwood Park Dedicates Memorial for Fallen Soldier
Story by Capt. Nathan Westby, 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs
GLENWOOD, IL (11/14/2011)(readMedia)-- On Veteran's Day the Village of Glenwood dedicated a memorial garden located in Glenwood's Veteran's Park in honor of 2nd Lt. Derwin Williams, who was killed in 2009 while serving in Afghanistan with the Illinois National Guard.
Williams' wife, Felicia, was in attendance at the ceremony and said her husband would have been honored to have a park named after him, especially a park that provides a place for children to play.
"Derwin would be so honored by this. Kids will play in this park and this is so fitting for Derwin because he loved children. He was so willing to give his time, anything he could do to help. He was a very courageous person," said Felicia Williams.
Williams also expressed her own gratitude, "I am just honored that he will be the face that the kids and people will see when they come here just to sit and to reflect, and to just have a moment to themselves. They will be able to look and to honor him. He is so deserving of it."
Williams, a resident of Glenwood, lived in the neighborhood near the park and it was an easy decision for the Village of Glenwood President, Kerry Durkin to dedicate the Veteran's Park garden in honor of Williams.
"We started this program of redoing the parks while Derwin was alive and lived on the next block. We thought this would be a very appropriate tribute to his memory and to the sacrifice that his family has made," said Durkin.
Durkin encouraged the community to use the park as a place to reflect, "I would hope that in time coming when you really need a place for solace, especially those that are veterans that you could come here and have a place to reflect."
Among those in attendance were members of Williams' National Guard unit, the 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, and officers from the Cook County Corrections Department, where Williams worked as a corrections officer.
Williams' brigade commander, Col. Paul Hastings spoke at the event. And spoke of Williams' character on his deployment.
"I can tell you for certain as his brigade commander that he was a man who was always in the arena. He was one of those quys we really counted on to make sure that the job got done. He tried to bring stability to northern Afghanistan, to a region of the world that has never known stability. He never once hesitated," said Hastings.
Hastings also commended the community for honoring its veterans by citing a famous quote from Abraham Lincoln, "Lincoln said that a nation that ceases to honor its veterans soon ceases to be a nation at all."
"As I look about this park, what it is really about, and what it truly means. Mr. Mayor, Village of Glenwood you got it exactly right. Well done," said Hastings.
U.S. Army photo by by Capt. Nathan Westby, 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs/ The Village of Glenwood dedicated a memorial garden located in Glenwood's Veteran's Park Nov. 11 in honor of 2nd Lt. Derwin Williams, who was killed in 2009 while serving in Afghanistan with the Illinois National Guard. Williams, a resident of Glenwood, lived in the neighborhood near the park.