Restored monument unveiled

Adam Larck
The Soldiers' Monument in Olio Township Cemetery shortly after its reveal on May 28.

After starting work a few months ago, the fully restored  Soldiers' Monument was revealed during the Memorial Day ceremony at Olio Township Cemetery on May 28.

The restoration of the monument, which was dedicated in 1868, was conducted by the Eureka Rotary Club and headed by president Brandon Bressner.

“For the year when you’re president, you have a hat that passes around and you can decide what you do with that money throughout the year,” Bressner said. “A veteran asked what I wanted to do with that money and he suggested updating the monument.”

With that suggestion, Bressner set out to try and find a company to do the restoration. After not finding success at first, another veteran suggested Roth Stoneworks in Congerville.

The update had the company removing the moss that had built up over the years before returning the monument back to its original color. All the surfaces were then sanded down to approximately 1/8th of an inch before Roth re-engraved the words by a computer guided process.

In addition to re-engraving the letters, the letters were also engraved with black to allow them to stand out more.

Bressner said he took the suggestion of the black lettering to both the Rotary Club and the Eureka Legion Hall for their support, and both groups were in favor of it.

Overall, the project cost $6,700. Of that, the club came up with about $3,800, while the rest came from the community.

“I think it would be safe to say that we were amazed at the amount of support we received,” Bressner said. “I just want to thank the community and thank Woodford County for their support. They had a tremendous support for it and we’re just thankful we can remember the veterans that gave so much.”

Now that the restoration work is done, he said that Roth told the club that they are currently looking into a sealing process for the memorial.

“They’ve never done it before, but we definitely want to do it,” Bressner said.

While Bressner is not sure how long the restored monument will last before starting to fade away, he did state that an article in the Peoria Journal Star 40 years ago said that the monument was still fairly readable.

“I would think all of our lifetimes it should still be here,” he said.