CI Hero: East Peoria firemen bring traveling Vietnam Wall to city, donate a check to Greater Peoria Honor Flight

CI Heroes

EAST PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The men credited with bringing the traveling Vietnam Wall to East Peoria are continuing to make an effort for local veterans. Firefighters Dan Decker and Justin Hale are this week’s CI Heroes.

A white truck and trailer hauling a highly respected memorial were driven into East Peoria in September.

“I didn’t know how successful it would be,” said Assistant Cheif Dan Decker. “Then on the day it showed up and you saw the hundreds of people that were showing up to watch it…the Facebook chatter…it really showed that people really do care.”

The power of each inscribed name upon the traveling Vietnam Wall, brought veterans to tears while supporters and families showed respect.

“This year especially with COVID, we weren’t able to take veterans to DC through the honor flight. It was important to be able to have something local that the veterans who served in Vietnam could come and pay their respects to the wall and just to be honored.”

Lieutenant Justin Hale

The pair of East Peoria Firemen, Assistant Chief Dan Decker and Lieutenant Justin Hale said it was an honor to bring a historic traveling monument to the city. They both said even during a pandemic year, it’s paramount to put veterans first.

“We should always thank the service of our veterans and what they did for our country,” said Hale. “To honor them and to remember those who lost their lives serving for our country.”

The Greater Peoria Honor Flight had to cancel its trips in the spring and fall of 2020 to abide by COVID-19 restrictions. The organization’s co-founder and vice president said, “We rely on the community,” said Phyllis Piraino. “We can’t have honor flights without community support, so especially this year. I mean, I get goosebumps thinking about it. It was huge for us to be able to raise this much money.”

On Friday, Lieutenant Hale presented the Greater Peoria Honor Flight with a check of almost $25,000.

To make a donation to the Greater Peoria Honor Flight CLICK HERE.

Nominate someone you know to be our next CI Hero by filling out our submission form.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Latest Local News

More Local News