By Mark Ambrogi
Jim Powers had never dwelled on his World War II service.
In fact, he seldom talked about it before moving from South Bend to the Hoosier Village Retirement Center in Zionsville two years ago. Powers was one of several veterans recognized at the Veteran Garden dedication ceremony May 19 at Hoosier Village. The veterans were honored with a medal and their name and service on a brick in the garden.
“It’s absolutely fabulous,” Powers said.
Ron May, Hoosier Village chaplain, had the idea to start the garden after hearing about Bricks of Remembrance.
“They place those bricks around the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Indianapolis,” May said.
May said that would be nice, but he and others at Hoosier Village thought it would be better to have the bricks in a spot where residents could see them more often. Thus, they decided to build the Veterans Garden. In addition to the veterans living at the community, May said if a spouse of a veteran who has died lives in Hoosier Village, they will honor that veteran as well.
“It was a fantastic turnout,” said May, who presided over the ceremony. “It’s so nice to be part of something that will be a lasting tribute to our veterans. We had wonderful support from the parent company (BHI) and the (BHI Foundation) and the staff that went above and beyond to put this together.”
May said the garden will likely be updated twice a year, near Veterans Day and Memorial Day. They honored 133 veterans at the ceremony, with 93 of them still living.
Powers, 92, and his wife, Marilyn, moved to Hoosier Village to be closer to their sons, Jeff, a Geist resident, and Jim, a Carmel resident.
Powers went with his son, Jeff, on the Indy Honor Flight a year ago. Powers said May was responsible for arranging that.
A member of the Air Force, Powers was stationed in Italy, serving as the radio operator on a B-24 bomber, flying several combat missions.
“It’s stunning the amount of love and affection Hoosier Village gives to the veterans here,” Jeff said.
Hoosier Village resident Dr. Donald Spees, a retired Zionsville dentist and 1944 Zionsville Community High School graduate, was one of those honored. He served two years in the Navy in the Pacific Theater.
“This is nice for the veterans,” said Spees, whose son, Kevin, is a Zionsville dentist and member of the town council.