Community Rallies to Build Memorial for Fallen Marine

By: Shannon Smith Email
By: Shannon Smith Email

BYRON (WIFR) -- Two years after the death of Byron Marine Alec Catherwood, a former marine is working on a way to honor him.

"We always pay respect to those who have given the ultimate sacrifice," said Jerry Oleson.

Former Marine, Jerry Oleson met Lance Corporal Alec Catherwood when Catherwood started showing interest in joining the Marines at 19.

"He was very excited about what he wanted to do, you could tell he was passionate about wanting to serve his country," Oleson said.

Unfortunately Oleson was never able to swap war stories with him. Catherwood was shot and killed in Afghanistan 2 years ago. Oleson says he wants to ensure the community remembers him.

"If we can do anything as a community to say thanks to the family, that's our goal," said the former Marine.

With the help of students from Byron High School, Catherwood's memorial will be part of the new veteran's memorial at Byron Cemetery, and will look like this one. The memorial will also include other veterans.

"We're just trying to bring all of them that have been set aside all together,” said Oleson.

Workers at Snyder's Grocery still get teary-eyed when talking about Catherwood. He worked there up until his deployment. General Manager Dave Soldat says Catherwood was always on time, co-workers say they miss his smile.

“He had a great sense of humor, he was good kid. Everybody loved him," Soldat remarked.

The memorial is all paid for, thanks to donations from Exelon Nuclear and the Byron fire department. It's expected to be completed next month. A dedication ceremony is scheduled for November 10th.

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