New kiosks at Middle East Conflicts Wall in Marseilles ready for Freedom Run

Annual ceremony will take place Saturday after Morris to Marseilles run

The Gold Star families attending the ceremony that culminates the 19th annual Illinois Motorcycle Freedom Run will have a new tool to find their loved ones’ names on the Middle East Conflict Memorial Wall in Marseilles: The wall now has kiosks that will be programmed with the names and locations of every soldier commemorated.

Retired Business Manager for Laborers Local 393 David Raikes said laborers and La Salle County Exelon Station workers, members of Electricians Local 15, spent their day Wednesday in the 90-degree heat installing the digital kiosks in front of the wall.

Raikes said the project came together quickly. He was notified on Monday these kiosks had been delivered and organized the labor.

“We’ve got a guy coming to program the kiosks so the Gold Star family members can walk up and find their son or daughter’s name and it’ll show them where they’re located on the wall so they can go up,” Raikes said. “Every person’s name will be on that kiosk.”

Raikes said the effort to construct the kiosks came together in the matter of 24 hours.

“That’s how dedicated they are to this project,” Raikes said. “From there, it’s just elbow grease and getting the job done. It’s really just a wonderful thing, this cause for all of the soldiers and heroes that made the ultimate sacrifice.”

Freedom Run is hosted by the Illinois Motorcycle Freedom Run, the organizers behind putting new names on the wall and aiding veterans and their families.

The run begins with breakfast and a lineup at 6 a.m. at the Grundy County Fairground in Morris before leaving at 10:30 a.m. for the memorial along the Illinois River in Marseilles. A $20 per person donation is required to participate, with all funds going to help Illinois Motorcycle Freedom Run in its goals.