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Eagle Scout project making headway; more support sought

Jun 21 2024
Stephanie Markham | Daily Journal

BOURBONNAIS — Alexis McCullough has hit a major milestone in her mission to bring a Gold Star Families Memorial Monument to Bourbonnais’ Marcotte Park, but she is still seeking the community’s help to make her Eagle Scout Service Project a reality.

She recently raised enough money, about $33,000, to place an order for the granite needed to construct the monument, which will honor Gold Star families who have lost a loved one in active duty military service.

McCullough, a soon-to-be junior at Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School, is a Life Scout in Boy Scout Troop 319G located in St. George.

In 2019, just before she turned 12 years old, her father, Col. Mark McCullough, died of a heart attack at age 51 while on active duty in the U.S. Army.

“Since then, I’ve been finding a way to honor him, as I never had the opportunity to say goodbye,” McCullough said.

After connecting with a network of support for Gold Star families, she was inspired to find a way to recognize and honor others in need of that same support.

So, McCullough is partnering with the Woody Williams Foundation and the village of Bourbonnais to bring a Gold Star Families Memorial Monument to her hometown.

Her goal is to raise the $120,000 total needed for the monument by October in order to complete it as her Eagle Scout Service Project.

She started by contributing $5,000 of her own money to the project.

Since then, she has made her rounds all over the community to ask for support, including local American Legions, park district committees, village boards, school boards, Lions Clubs, military groups and community organizations.

She also presented alongside former Gov. Pat Quinn and State Sen. Patrick Joyce, D-Essex, during the “Portrait of a Soldier” display on Armed Forces Day at the Kankakee Public Library, and again on Memorial Day at Memorial Gardens Cemetery and the Kankakee County Courthouse lawn with the Kankakee Assistance Commission of Kankakee County.

Cassandra McCullough, Alexis’ mother, said that her daughter is on track to meet her fundraising goal by October as long as the community support keeps rolling in.

“It’s been amazing,” Cassandra McCullough said. “She’s grown up quite a bit in the last year.”

WAYS TO CONTRIBUTE

McCullough has reached one goal with the ordering of the granite.

However, more donations are needed to reach the next level, which includes engraving the monument and shipping.

Discussions for in-kind donations include concrete for the monument’s plaza and pathway, excavation services, rebar, crane use and operation, waste removal, and landscaping.

Upcoming events benefiting the Gold Star Memorial Project include:

  • Friday (today), there will be a “Families of the Fallen” night at the Kankakee County Speedway. Gates open at 5:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, Bingo will be played at the Bradley American Legion from 1 to 4 p.m.
  • June 29, a Veterans Luncheon will be held at the Bourbonnais Friendship Festival beginning at 11 a.m.

Contributions can also be made by purchasing a Gold Star Project Challenge Coin for $20, T-shirts for $30, gun raffle tickets through CGS Firearms in Crescent City, and online at woodywilliams.org/monuments/bourbonnais.

Donations can be sent to Meineke: care of Alexis McCullough, 594 William Latham Drive, Bourbonnais, IL, 60914.

Checks can be made payable to the Woody William Foundation, with McCullough/Bourbonnais written in the memo section.

Visit the McCullough Gold Star Project on Facebook for more information and links to donate.