Volunteers honor veterans with flags at local cemetery
By Erin Sauder For The Courier-News May 25, 2012 6:08PM
Dale Bramer of Davis and Nancy Gentile of Elgin place flags on Veterans graves in honor of their service Friday at River Valley Memorial Garden in West Dundee. Flags were placed on 964 Veteran graves by cemetery staff and volunteers. May 25, 2012 | Michael Smart~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 3, 2012 10:22AM
WEST DUNDEE — About 15 people could be found meandering the River Valley Memorial Gardens here Friday morning, placing flags on the graves of the 964 veterans buried there.
“This is my first year doing it,” said Elgin resident Nancy Gentile, who was persuaded to help by her sister, Margie Colborn, also of Elgin.
The morning was especially meaningful for Gentile as she got to lay a flag on the grave of her husband, Mark, who passed away in 2010. Mark Gentile had served in the Army. The duo had been married 38 years.
River Valley Memorial Gardens is located along Route 31 on the far southern edge of West Dundee, half a mile north of Interstate 90.
Placing the flags on all veterans’ graves on the Friday before Memorial Day each year is a tradition at the cemetery.
Davis resident Dale Bramer drove more than an hour to help with flag placements.
“It’s a little bit of gas but they deserve it,” said Bramer, formerly an Elgin resident and a Navy veteran, of the veterans buried in River Valley Memorial Gardens. “We’ve got to remember the sacrifices they gave for us to be here.”
Margie Colborn also got her husband, Dennis, involved with the flag placements.
“This is my second year,” he said. “It’s nice to honor the soldiers. And it’s nice to get out.”
River Valley Memorial Gardens is a division of Haeger Industries Inc., the parent company of Haeger Potteries of East Dundee.
Craig Zachrich, director of River Valley Memorial Gardens, said his father-in-law began the cemetery.
“The Haeger family feels it’s important to show respect for the veterans,” he said.