Veterans Voices: Fishers veteran has vision for park to honor fellow servicemen

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FISHERS, In. — A Hoosier Silver Star and Purple Heart recipient has a vision for a veteran’s park in Fishers that would stand out across Indiana.

The vision came to life this past Memorial Day but there is still more ahead ahead for Vietnam Veteran George Stavropoulos.

“It means everything to me,” said Stavropoulos.

The newest piece of the center green in front of Fishers City Hall is a memorial for Gold Star Families. It honors the families of service members who did not make it home from combat.

“The most important people, other than the deceased veteran himself, is the parents and families of those individuals,” Stavropoulos said.

Stavropoulos served in Vietnam as a Navy Hospital Corpsman. He’s been awarded a Silver Star and four Purple Hearts for his service.

Stavropoulos said his mission now is remembering those who did not come home.

“I lost a lot of good friends, in Vietnam in particular, and in all the wars since then,” he said.

Stavropoulos, along with fellow veteran Fishers City Councilman Brad DeReamer, pitched the idea to Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness over coffee.

”He says ‘go’ and that’s all we needed,” said DeReamer.

Fadness said it was an easy answer.

“It just made all the sense in the world,” Fadness said.

With tens of thousands of dollars in support from the Fishers community, the Gold Star memorial was built. It now book ends the central green in front of Fishers City Hall with Liberty Plaza at the other end.

“It made me see faces I hadn’t seen in a longtime and think of people and events that happened, for me, 50-plus years ago,” said Stavropoulos.

It was dedicated on Memorial Day and is just the start of Stavropoulos’s vision.

“I’d love to see several more monuments, a number I don’t know, but I would like to see them scattered throughout this center green,” Stavropoulos said. “Make this kind of a holy ground for veteran remembrance.”

Stavropolous sees more monuments honoring veterans, their stories and the wars they have fought in all throughout the center green.

Mayor Fadness supports the idea.

“I think George has a great vision,” Fadness said. “I think the community celebrates and honors our service men and women so if this happens to be the place and there are additional monuments that we can put out that people are excited to have here in our community we would be excited to have it.”

Stavropoulos and DeReamer hope they can connect to the younger generation.

”Hopefully hearing and seeing this will maybe connect with the reading in their history books,” DeReamer said.

To make this vision a reality, though, they need support.

“We’d love to have contributions to help us start the rest of the idea of building a veterans park here,” Stavropoulos said.

His hope is to see his vision come to life in his lifetime.

“It’s everything to me,” Stavropoulos said. “If I were able to be around long enough to see what my dream is for this piece of land, that would be a very fulfilling moment for me.”

If you would like to donate to help make George’s dream of a veterans park in Fishers come to life, you can donate at this link.

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