On Saturday afternoon, Dennis Grogg took several measurements of an old plaque and made a few markings on an old oak panel.
“This was from the original memorial,” he said, with sign in hand.
It read: “This World War II Memorial was sponsored by the war mothers of Cass County and was made possible by the gifts of the friends and relatives of the men and women in service.”
After all the measurements were made, Grogg lined up the plaque and began securing it to the wall inside the new Cass County Roll of Honor memorial, on the corner of East Broadway and Sixth Street in Logansport.
Officials plan to rededicate the memorial at 2 p.m. Oct. 15.
“We’re really excited about it,” said Grogg, project coordinator.
Built in 1945, the monument is a tribute to the men and woman who served in World War II from Cass County. People listed on the Roll of Honor include anyone who was drafted from or enlisted from Cass County and served between Dec. 7, 1941 and Dec. 31, 1946.
Of the 2,300 Cass County service men and women who received nameplates in the original memorial, officials believe there are only about 60 still alive.
“The focus of the rededication will be those World War II veterans still living,” said Elizabeth McQuinn, who has been involved with the project since it started.
McQuinn still has another 1,900 nameplates, which have not been picked up by family members or veterans. She’s not sure if any of those veterans are still alive.
After noticing that the foundation for the old structure had cracked, causing it to settle to one side, and that the sun faded many of the nameplates, the Cass County Veterans Council kicked off the fundraising project to fully restore the roll of honor in March 2008.
The project was slow going at first, and Grogg took notice last year.
“I used to be the chief mechanical officer for the former Iron Horse Festival,” he said. “I saw which way that went and saw this was going no place. I felt I had the skill and ability to get the work done, and no one else put their foot forward.”
Since Grogg became project coordinator, the entire memorial has been rebuilt. After the building was completed, volunteers had to wait for the veteran nameplates to be completed by local engraver Sandy Henry. Henry worked on laser engraving more than 4,200 names onto pieces of black marble.
Anyone who lost their life in the war has an engraved gold star next to their name.
Grogg wanted to place the marble pieces into the existing nameplate holders, but the boards were warped. He was able to save the oak boards and had new “picture frame holders” created, which allow the marble to slide in and out.
“My greatest reward — I was the first person to slide in the first marble plaque,” said Grogg. “That was my payment.”
The memorial still needs aluminum lettering installed on top of the roof, and the lighting needs adjusted, so there is no glare on the nameplates.
Without those hard workers and the generous donations from several local business, Grogg said, the monument would not have been completed.
“We have had a small band of volunteers, and I’m indebted to all of them that helped,” Grogg said. “Ninety percent of the building materials were donated, so we paid for only a few things.”
With the memorial almost completed, Grogg is pleased with the outcome and the opportunity to save a piece of history.
“Originally, it was here from the war mothers. I just thought it was important to put it back together,” he said. “It is a part of the history of Cass County.”
• Denise Massie is a staff writer at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5151 or email@example.com.