A ceremony will be held Saturday at 1 p.m. at Bishop Hendricken High School to dedicate a park in memory of alumni and faculty who made the ultimate sacrifice in serving this country in the armed forces.
Richard August, coach of the project and MC for the ceremony, said the day will be very emotional for him. Among the three former Hendricken students to be recognized is his son, Capt. Matthew August, ’93. Matthew died while serving in Iraq. Also being recognized are Second Lt. Richard Mckenzie, ’63, who was killed in Vietnam, and LCpl. Eric Valdepenas, ’03, who also died in Iraq.
A former faculty member approached August at a golf tournament and suggested the idea. He pursued it, spoke to the other families and began planning. Phase I of the project, the memorial and flagpole, was completed at a cost of $6,000. Hendricken’s President John Jackson chose the site, which August called a prime location. The school is working with landscape architects for phase II. The garden will include a statue by Canadian sculptor Timothy Schmalz depicting Jesus welcoming a fallen soldier into heaven. It is titled "Lest We Forget." The entire project is expected to cost $85,000.
“We hope no more names have to be added to the memorial, but there will be extra room,” if need be, said August.
The ceremony will include three Eagle Scouts, Hendricken’s chorus and the first raising of the flag. Justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court and former Mayor of Warwick Francis Flaherty will be the keynote speaker. Brigadier General Mark Jannitto, Asst. Adjutant General, Rhode Island National Guard, and MG (Ret.) John Capalbo will also be attending.
All are welcome to attend the ceremony. In case of rain, the program will be held in the Harrop Theater.