MANTENO – Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) Director L. Tammy Duckworth today joined local elected officials, President of the Kankakee-Iroquois County Building and Construction Trades Steve Magruder, local Veterans organizations, and the family of Mickey Lile to celebrate the groundbreaking of the Lile Lake at the Illinois Veterans Home in Manteno. When completed, the Lile Lake will be a 1.75 acre fishing pond for the Veterans Home residents and their families to enjoy.
“This is an exciting day for the Manteno Veterans Home. Our residents will soon have a wonderful place to relax and enjoy with their fellow Veterans and families and it’s all thanks to the dedication of the local organizations and individuals,” said IDVA Director L. Tammy Duckworth. “On behalf of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, I want to thank all those who have donated their time and efforts into making this happen for our Veterans.”
Building a fishing pond at the Manteno Veterans Home for the residents was the dream of Forrest “Mickey” Lile. Mickey Lile served in the US Marine Corps, was a teacher, coach and assistant professor for several high schools and universities, and later on became the Assistant Superintendent of the Illinois Veterans Home at Manteno in 1985, retiring in 1990. Today, Mickey’s family was at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Lake named in his honor and to see his dream become a reality.
“Our family is honored to have our father remembered in this wonderful way. His dream was to have a place for Veterans and their families to visit, fish, relax and meditate with their loved ones. Today his dream is coming true. Thank you,” said Rig Lile, on behalf of the entire Lile family.
The Lile Lake will be located on the northeast corner of the front property of the Manteno Veterans Home on a multi-acre grass lawn, between the main entrance and the service entrance. The Capital Development Board (CDB), the state’s construction management agency, provided $65,000 to hire Doyle & Associates of Chicago, who designed the lake project and will also provide field support on behalf of CDB during the construction project. Features of the Lake are to include the following:
- A large T-shaped fishing pier extending from the central patio on the north side of the pavilion
- An open-air pavilion with lights, ceiling fans, restroom facilities, as well as a place for storing the fishing equipment and lawn chairs for the residents and their families
- A paved pathway extending around the lake with benches and eyebrow pull-offs where Veterans in wheel-chairs can sit and reflect
- A small gazebo sitting on the pier on the north side, allowing Veterans to be on the water
- A wall at the waters edge where Veterans who are fishing can drop a line into deep water
- A shallower section of the lake where fish will span
- A small park-like meditation area that will be paved with bricks memorializing Veterans at the home who have passed on
- ADA compliant so it can be utilized by all of the residents
- Various plants and shrubs around the pond for aesthetic purposes
“The Veterans and their families at the Manteno home will appreciate this lake for decades to come. The lake will represent more than a fishing pond. It is a testament to the sacrifice Veterans gave to their county. It is fitting that labor organizations and Veterans’ groups joined hands in saluting the 256 Veterans, 179 from WWII, that currently live at Manteno. This Lake shows that patriotism in Kankakee County is more than a slogan. Here it will reflect everyday on our Lake,” added Martin Downs, Home Administrator of the Illinois Veterans Home at Manteno.
Funding for the project, including materials and insurance, has been provided solely through the Manteno Benefit Fund, made up of private donations to the Illinois Veterans Home in Manteno by individuals and Veterans organizations. 100 percent of the equipment and labor to complete the project will be done free of charge, thanks to the Kankakee-Iroquois Building and Construction Trades.
“This is a project that has been in the makings for years and originally, the Army Corps of Engineers were planning on doing the work, but because of 9/11 and their deployment, the project had to be stalled. So the building trades stepped up to the plate to continue forward with the project and to be the major labor donors. I can’t think of a better cause than to do this for the men and women who laid their lives on the line to give us ours,” said Steve Magruder, President of the Kankakee-Iroquois County Building and Construction Trades.
The Lile Lake is expected to be completed in the late spring/early summer of 2008.