Local wood plaques made for Veterans to honor their service

LOVES PARK, Ill (WIFR) -- A therapeutic hobby turns into artwork made for Veterans by Winnebago County Board member Fred Wescott.

Hand crafted gifts for veterans

"My father was a veteran," Wescott tells 23 News. "He served at Guadalcanal during World War II. And after he left the Marine Corps at Guadalcanal he went to Bougainville."

Wescott is a woodworker, and made almost 40 Veteran plaques so far. "I just stencil each of these by hand," he explains. "I started woodworking when I was 9 years old at the Boy's Club in Rockford."

A recent recipient is the father of Loves Park Mayor Greg Jury.

"I had actually posted a picture of my Dad for his 90th birthday last Thursday," says Jury. "And Fred reached out to me and asked if I would like a plaque made." Jury's father, Ralph, is a Korean War Veteran. Greg Jury gifted his father the plaque for his birthday.

"It brought a tear to his eye," he says. "He'll tell ya he'd do it again tomorrow if he could so then my kids and my grand-kids don't have to do it."

Wescott also gifted Loves Park Alderman Jim Puckett a plaque for his service as a Marine in the Vietnam War. Puckett says it's a great way to show how far the country has come in honoring Veterans.

"It shows that the community and people like Fred are willing to honor a Veteran," he tells 23 News. "I remember coming home from Vietnam on a ship, the USS Dubuque, people jeered at you and spit at you. That was a rough time for Vietnam Veterans."

Puckett believes the Trump Administration does a great job to ensure the country helps Veterans. He says having local support is special, too.
"If it wasn't for the Veterans, we wouldn't have a free country today."