Volunteers refurbish Freda war memorial

FREDA – When Hancock residents Luke Hytinen and Cecilia Thomas took a day trip to Freda, they saw 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 Capt. 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.”

On Saturday Hytinen, Thomas, Stagney and Lambert cleaned, painted and prepared the War Memorial for updates.

The memorial in Freda Township was erected in 1985 to honor local soldiers who have fought in three major wars – World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. It has been renovated several times since then, with the last renovation occurring eight years ago.

The current renovation will add a fourth conflict category – Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom- 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,” Lambert said.

As part of the renovation, Lambert updated the way all names were listed on the memorial. Where previously there were 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, it will be a much easier process,” Lambert said. “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,” Lambert said. “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.