Winnebago Co. Board member makes free plaques for veterans

Published: Nov. 11, 2022 at 10:16 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - A Winnebago County Board member who almost served in Vietnam gives back to veterans with a hand-made keepsake.

Fred Wescott has been making wooden plaques by hand for seven years. It started with a Beatles plaque since he is a music lover, that is until one person asked if he could make a plaque for a veteran.

He gets several requests to make one for any branch of the military, especially for Veterans Day.

“It’s a labor of love, and that’s why I do it,” says Wescott. “It’s a thank you. I mean, it’s just one of those things that I couldn’t serve but you did.”

He buys all of his materials to make them by hand and doesn’t ask for anything in return. He says the reactions he gets from veterans are priceless.

“I get a lot of wows and tears. I’ve had grown men stop in their tracks when they get one.”

One of those is his brother-in-law Steven Wysong, who served three years in Korea and Germany.

“There was kind of a chuckle like you didn’t have to do that. But he did it anyway. I was grateful for that was nice.”

Wescott didn’t expect a hobby he started years ago to have an impact on so many people.

“There are a few people out there, but I never realized that there are over 3000 veterans that are still alive. In Winnebago County,” says Wescott.

“I’m proud of him because his heart is in it and he loves doing them,” says Wysong.

“I don’t want to grant gratitude for myself, but there’s no way I want that. I just want it for them because they deserve it,” says Wescott.

He’s also made plaques for people he’s worked with on the Winnebago County Board. He says he will make plaques until he can’t make them anymore.

Wescott says if you served our country at any point, you could get a plaque. He’s also made plaques for veterans who have died.

Those interested can email Fred Wescott at for more information. The information needed for the plaques is the veteran’s branch of service, first name, middle initial, last name, years of service and rank at discharge.

Wescott planned to serve his country during the Vietnam War, but it was towards the end of the war.