RICHMOND – The Richmond American Legion Paul C. Hoffman Post 253 honored veterans and service members who graduated from Richmond-Burton Community High School with the dedication of a new plaque Wednesday in Stevens Park.
The plaque honors 113 veterans who have joined the armed forces since 1975 and attended the local high school. Legion member Howard “Sonny” Katzenberg of Richmond said he is honored to see how many volunteered to join the forces without a draft.
Katzenberg spent time reviewing and searching for names, and has personally written letters to all the veterans to build a relationship.
“I hope more people will come and join the Legion,” Katzenberg said.
The plot of land at Stevens Park, 5574-5598 Broadway Road, features other plaques that honor those who served in World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Some stones are left empty for future plaques, Katzenberg said.
“It’s unbelievable how many people stop and look,” Katzenberg said. “This is a local park in town that the village gave us to have these memorials here.”
Members of the Legion gathered at 10 a.m., and parents of veterans on the plaque watched as the plaque was screwed onto the stone.
George Hellmann of Richmond said his son, Andrew, entered the Navy in 1984 and spent 20 years there, retiring as a chief petty officer.
“It feels emotional to see him be honored,” Hellmann said. “It’s a great feeling, and we’ve been wanting to do this for a year and a half, but we were making sure we had every single name.”
The Richmond American Legion Paul C. Hoffman Post 253 will turn 100 years old next year and has 90 members.
“I believe [seeing the plaques] affects people in many different ways,” Hellmann said. “It might be a name they are familiar with – it gives them time to reminisce and honor, whether the person is deceased or alive today.”