21 Aug 2014
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I Love Mokena! In Honor of Memorial Day, a Special Tribute

This week, we dip into the I Love Mokena archives for a special tribute in recognition of Memorial Day.

I Love Mokena! In Honor of Memorial Day, a Special Tribute

Dear I Love Mokena Readers,

In honor of  Memorial Day I am going to run an encore presentation of a column from last December. I'm sure you'll agree it is very appropriate for such an important holiday. I will have another interesting story about one more of our great Mokena businesses next week.

Welcome back.

Passing the intersection at 191st and LaGrange Road you may have  noticed the brown and white street signs mounted atop the traffic signal posts. They read "Robert L. Stanek Memorial Drive".

Robert Lee Stanek, a proud U.S. Marine, was the only Mokena area resident to give his life during the war in Vietnam. While Robert's story is very important, today I would like to share the story of how the street was dedicated in his name.

Ken Moses' family has deep roots in the Village of Mokena. Ken and wife Irene raised their family here and are very well respected by friends and neighbors alike.
Ken served in Vietnam along side Bob Stanek and the two became fast friends. Some years ago Ken felt is was time that Stanek be recognized for his sacrifice and courage in Vietnam. 

He began contacting local elected officials, requesting their assistance in creating a memorial for a local hero. As is the case, all too often, bureaucracy and red tape, dotting the Is and crossing the Ts, demand recognition and need processing. For Ken Moses it was well worth the effort.

After six years, On Memorial Day 2004, with great pomp and circumstance, Ken and wife Irene became part of our history with the dedication of the Robert L. Stanek  Memorial Highway along 191st Street in Mokena.

A huge outdoor ceremony was held where Firestone Automotive now stands on 191st Street.  Many local and county elected officials were in attendance, including a fellow marine, Will County Sheriff Paul Kaupus. The local school band played and 191st Street officially became known as Robert L. Stanek  Memorial Highway.

A great tribute to a man that gave his life protecting our freedom. The only thing we're missing in this story is the happy ending. Unfortunately, and unbelievably, a few months after the dedication for Bob Stanek, Ken Moses was diagnosed with cancer. As usual Ken handled the news with the quiet courage he was always known for. He fought bravely, but in 2006 he succumbed to the disease. A terrible loss for his family and friends. A huge casualty for community spirit in Mokena.
I haven't met many people in my life with the positive outlook and even demeanor that describe Ken Moses. He was truly a good guy, loved his family and friends and was a treasure to our community.

Although I never knew Ken before he began the campaign for the Robert Stanek memorial, I grew to consider him a true and loyal friend. It doesn't get any better than that.

If you click on the following link —  http://virtualwall.org/ds/stanekrl01a.htm — you will get access to detailed information about Robert Stanek and Ken Moses. Ken Moses truly loved Mokena. And Ken, Mokena surely loves you!

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