Brendan and his helpers restored and beautified a small park dedicated to the only police office to fall in the line of duty in their town. Office Robert E. Burke died in 1957, and the park was originally dedicated in 1997 but had fallen into disrepair and neglect. The sign was rotted and falling apart, the letters and police medallion were illegible, there was nothing around the memorial except a circle of dirt, and no one remembered why it was there.
Brendan lived two blocks away from the park and passed by it for 6 years before he realized what and who it was for. Working with the Winnetka Park District, he designed a new sign and landscape plan. In October of 2017, Brendan led a crew of 22 volunteers to remove the old sign, install the new one, landscape the area around the sign with all new plantings, and beautify the rest of the park by edging and mulching all the trees. They replaced the rusted “dog leash” sign and moved it further away from the new memorial sign. They also handled touching up the sign with paint after it was installed.
The second part of Brendan’s project was planning and executing a re-dedication ceremony with the Winnetka Police Department. Brendan organized the event, planned who would speak, recruited and directed a Scout color guard, and spoke to the media, local historical society and community so people would know about it. The event was held on Veteran’s Day in November 2017, and the turnout was great. There were many police officers and firefighters from surrounding communities who attended, as well as people from their community. The best part was that Officer Burke’s brother Bill and his family drove 3 hours to be at the event, and Bill Burke spoke at the ceremony.
— Brendan, Troop 20, Winnetka, Illinois
As a local resident who passes this park every day, it is wonderful to see this park returned to a beautiful site that honors Office Burke. Well done, Brendan!