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Scouts salute Baggaley's veterans

| Friday, May 4, 2012, 9:12 a.m.

As National Guard Spc. 4 Joel Zepko fixes military vehicles in the war-torn Sunni Triangle region of Iraq, he knows his tour is slated to end mid-summer.

Zepko, 27, of Baggaley, also knows his name will be inscribed on the village's refurbished Honor Roll and Memorial tentatively scheduled for dedication on Veterans Day.

"That's something he (Joel) takes great pride in, being a veteran," said Joel's father, David, 57, also of Baggaley.

Since 2004, the 32-member Boy Scout Troop 327, sponsored by Unity Township American Legion Post 982, has been working on a $16,000 restoration project at the site spearheaded by Scoutmaster Jim Foster.

The original memorial, which only included the names of Baggaley's World War II vets, had fallen into disrepair with age.

The new, gray granite memorial will be expanded to include Zepko's name and other local veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and veterans of World War I, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and Operation Desert Storm, Foster said.

The structure also will be etched with the emblems of the six U.S. military service branches.

"This is a good project for the boys. With the time and labor involved, they will appreciate it more and better understand the sacrifices made by those who've defended this country," said Foster, adding that 3,000 bricks inscribed with names of area veterans and donors will be laid at the site by the scout troop.

The project recently was awarded a $10,000 state grant and also received a total of $3,000 since 2004 from recycling grants the township has acquired.

"That money is put toward refurbishing that memorial and all others in Unity Township," said township Supervisor Jake Blank.

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