Many of the hydro poles in Wellesley have been transformed into a tribute for those who fought and died in the service of the country.
A series of double-sided banners featuring the names and photos of 16 local fallen soldiers of the First and Second world wars are now on display in the village of Linwood. The first-time initiative is particularly meaningful to residents of the township, as each veteran is well-known to the community and has relatives living in the area.
“This is a reminder for people,” said Wellesley Mayor Joe Nowak. “It’s going to be 75 years next year since the end of the war.
“We’ve had 75 years of relatively peaceful times … and I think people become complacent with that peace. This is a reminder that these folks fought hard to give us that peace.”
Many soldiers depicted have already left their mark on the community; veteran Earle C. Lavery was the inspiration behind the name Lavery Road, just east of Linwood. Ament Line, a route that passes through Linwood, honours Arthur “Archie” Ament, who lost a leg during combat in the Second World War. He later became the postmaster in Linwood upon his return.
Other commemorated soldiers throughout Linwood include Joseph Sherrer, who was injured in combat and later died in Italy. He has a brother, nieces and nephews living in Linwood. Charles J. Doherty joined World War I at age 20 as an army recruit in 1915, became a Private and saw action in Belgium, Holland and France.
Sam Friedmann was a soldier in World War I, and his three sons, Don, Jack, and Wally, served in World War II. His descendants are the Friedmann family, who reside in Linwood.
Linwood is not the only community involved with this initiative: Elmira already has many local soldiers on display throughout the town and has been doing so every November for the past several years.
Mary Ellen Genereux of the Royal Canadian Legion’s Elmira branch 469 adds that community requests for veteran banners continue to roll in.
“Other people want to know when they can get in on this,” said Genereux, adding that no more could be displayed in Elmira Legion this year due to a regional retrofit of the light posts. “We have a growing list.”
The collaborative effort was spearheaded by Joe Doherty, a member of the Elmira Legion whose uncle served in the war. He was approached by Teresa Kuepfer, a member of the Linwood Wings Committee, with the possibility of war veteran banners for Linwood that she noticed displayed in Harriston.
Doherty discovered the names and contacted the soldier’s families using a roll call sheet that Genereux presents at the local cenotaph. He approached the council back in May to receive approval to move forward with the project.
Wellesley gave the go-ahead but needed permission to use the local hydro poles owned by Waterloo North Hydro to move forward.
“It was nice that the community came together to do this; this wasn’t a township initiative,” said Nowak.
Funds for the veterans’ banners came from the profits of wing nights hosted by the Linwood Wings Committee during the winter months.
“We’re starting our fourth season of wing night in November,” said committee member Blaine Hergott. “Our priority was a social event for the town that we’re able to fundraise money for our town. So this is our way of giving back. … It was a team effort, for sure.”
Once the banners arrived from a manufacturer, they were installed by Wellesley Township maintenance personnel last Friday. They will be on display until November 20, and be stored in the Elmira Legion during the winter months.