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Mayor Dave Wood, July 2024, Veterans Walkway Communicator Article

It is with heartfelt pride and deep respect that I announced the grand opening of our Veterans Walkway at Battell Park over Memorial Day Weekend.  We gathered to honor Mishawaka’s veterans and fallen heroes with a dedication which was as meaningful as it was moving. Veterans Walkway, extending west from the historic Soldiers and Sailors Monument, honors Mishawaka’s veterans who have bravely served our nation.

At the west end of the walk is a new monument displaying names of all of Mishawaka’s veterans killed in the line of duty, etched in granite for permanent display. It also features an eternal flame, symbolizing our unending gratitude and respect for those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our liberties. The walkway also has 15 educational displays highlighting Mishawaka’s contributions to the various wars in American history. As we unveiled this tribute, we were reminded of the importance of honoring our veterans and preserving their stories for future generations. It is a place for reflection, a place to pay our respects, and a place to educate our children.

The creation of this Walkway involved the dedication and hard work of many in our community. I extend my deepest appreciation to everyone who contributed to this project; city officials, contractors and community members who supported this vision. I especially would like to thank Mr. Ross Portolese for lighting our eternal flame. Mr. Portolese is a World War II Veteran, part of the U.S. Army Air Corps piloting in England, France and Belgium. Once returning home, he has served the Princess City and its citizens in various capacities, including the Mishawaka Plan Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals.

Whether you are a long time Mishawaka family, or just recently calling Mishawaka home, I encourage you and your family to visit the Veterans Walkway this summer. Your visit ensures the contributions of our veterans will always be a part of the fabric of Mishawaka.

After the unveiling of the walkway, we have been asked to re-open our Buy-a-Brick program that allows family and friends to honor soldiers and sailors with a Mishawaka connection by engraving their names and service on a paver by the eternal flame monument.  The cost of each brick is $75. The funds raised from these brick sales are being directed towards the Mishawaka Troop Town, an initiative dedicated to providing housing and essential services to homeless veterans. These homes are currently being constructed next to VFW Post 360 on Jefferson Boulevard.  By supporting this program, you are helping veterans rebuild their lives and reintegrate into our community with dignity and respect.

To be honored with a brick, individuals must meet specific eligibility criteria. The program is open to current or former residents of Mishawaka who have served in one of the six military branches—Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, and Space Force. The veterans must either be currently serving or have received an honorable discharge.

Purchasing a brick is a simple process. Download the program PDF from our city’s website,, fill out the necessary information, and mail the form along with your payment to Mishawaka Troop Town Inc., P.O. Box 231, Mishawaka, IN 46545. The details for the inscription can include up to four lines of text, with a maximum of 12 characters per line. While the organizers strive to place multiple bricks ordered together close to each other, please know specific placement cannot be guaranteed within the memorial walkway.

Our goal is to have these final bricks installed by Veterans Day this November. For any questions or further information regarding the Buy-A-Brick Program, please contact Jim Metherd at 574-346-1866 or via email at Please note the final day to purchase these bricks is July 31, 2024.

I would like to thank the citizens who have already participated in this project. Not only do I enjoy reading the names of each brick with my family, but I am humbled by our community’s celebration of the valor and dedication of our veterans. It’s a chance for every citizen to participate in something bigger than themselves, to show gratitude, and to ensure that the legacy of our heroes is immortalized in the heart of our Princess City.