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S23 Episode 02: Gold Star Families Memorial


Jennifer Slown and Lew Breese describe the future Gold Star Families Memorial planned for Veterans Park in Naperville, why it's important and how others can help.

For a list of ParkTalk episodes and series visit

Quotes from the episode:

“A Gold Star Family is—whether it’s a mother, father, brother, sister, son, daughter or spouse—someone who has lost a loved one in service to our nation, serving in the military.  Our intent in Naperville is to build a monument honoring the sacrifice of those Gold Star Families….I’m a mother myself, I currently serve in the Marine Corps Reserve, my husband serves in the Army National Guard, I’ve lost friends in the military in service to our country and keep in touch with their families, so this hits near and dear to my heart.”  Jennifer Slown

“War touches everyone in your family—everyone. Naperville is a very giving town, a very loving town, a very patriotic town. We can move forward with this and make it a beautiful addition to our community.” – Lew Breese

Veterans Park, future home of the Gold Star Families Memorial, is located at 303 E. Gartner Road in Naperville

Learn more about the Gold Star Families Memorial in this Positively Naperville article reporting on the progress toward full funding.

Gold Star Families Memorial – front view

Gold Star Families Memorial – back view

For more information about the national initiative to establish Gold Star Families Memorial, visit the website of the

Hershel Woody Williams Medal of Honor Foundation.

How to donate toward the Veterans Park Gold Star Families Memorial in Naperville:

Gold Star Families Memorial
Century Walk Corporation
34 Chicago Ave. #B2
Naperville, IL 60540

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On Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011 Naperville Park District officials heard the good news for which they have been waiting for many months: the District has achieved national accreditation through the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA).

The decision was announced at the NRPA national conference in Atlanta following a formal hearing before the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA).

Naperville is only the second park district in Illinois to earn this distinction and the 104th nationally accredited agency in the nation; there are more than 10,000 recreation agencies in the United States. The Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies accredits a handful of park agencies each year that have completed a multi-step process involving a self-review by the agency, a site visit, and an evaluation and formal report by the Commission.

“We are extremely proud to bring this honor to Naperville,” said Park District Executive Director Ray McGury. “It’s an affirmation of our high standards and also an encouragement to continue bringing high quality recreation and parks experiences to our community.”

The Park District’s accreditation process began approximately one year ago and included an extensive self-evaluation by staff and a 5-day visit from CAPRA reviewers this past July. Maintaining the accreditation requires annual reports and 5- and 10-year reviews.

Park District staff members noted that the CAPRA process has helped them see the big picture, focus on long term goals and plans, review plans more regularly, organize documents so that they are accessible and useable, and collaborate more effectively with other departments and outside organizations.

Our Mission
We provide recreation and park experiences that promote healthy lives, healthy minds and a healthy community.
Our Vision
To be a national leader in parks and recreation providing and promoting high quality experiences and facilities at a great value to our community.
Core Values
Health and Wellness, Environmental Education, Stewardship and Sustainability, Community Enrichment, Public Safety, Accessibility, Personal Growth and Enrichment.
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