FREDA - When Hancock residents Luke Hytinen and Cecilia Thomas took a day trip to Freda, they noticed an opportunity to honor local veterans by restoring the war memorial that stands overlooking Lake Superior. When their friend Staff Sgt. Phillip Lambert got involved, the project took off.
"Sgt. Lambert has basically initiated this all on his own. He's leading the project from start to finish," said Cpt. Maureen Stagney. "He gathered everyone together, he's communicated to everyone his vision of how he wants to see it restored and he also was very generous and purchased the supplies to donate."
Saturday afternoon Hytinen, Thomas, Cpt. Stagney and Lambert cleaned, painted and prepared the War Memorial for updates.
Meagan Stilp/Daily Mining Gazette
Staff Sgt. Phillip Lambert, Cecilia Thomas and Luke Hytinen work at restoring a War Memorial in Freda Saturday. The memorial will be updated to include OIF (Operation Iraqi Freedom)/OEF (Operation Enduring Freedom) in addition to World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
The memorial stands on Freda Township property. It was erected in 1985 to honor local soldiers who have fought in three major wars - World War II, the Vietnam War and the Korean War. It has been renovated multiple times since then, with the last renovation occurring eight years ago. The current renovation will add a fourth conflict category - Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF)/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) - to honor soldiers who have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"(The memorial) will list the names of veterans from Freda and the surrounding three communities," said Lambert.
As part of the renovation, Lambert updated the way all names were listed on the War Memorial. Where previously there had been individual name plaques, there will now be four solid placards - one under each category - with each veteran's name engraved.
"That way when they have to add 20 local kids," Lambert said, "it will be a much easier process. They'll just take the cover off and engrave them on the list."
Lambert donated the materials to update the memorial with the help of two Hancock businesses.
"McGann's Do It Best gave us an incredible discount on supplies and so did U.P. Laser Engraving and Gifts, the company that is going to be doing all the etching on the plaques," said Lambert. "I wouldn't have had enough money to pay for all this stuff and they gave us a huge discount and really made this possible."
The War Memorial stands at the end of Superior View Road in Freda. The placards containing a full list of veterans from Freda and the three surrounding communities will be installed upon completion.