McCrabb: Butler County veterans memorial hopes to create ‘a culture of appreciation’

John Carboy Jr. was an active member of the Fairfield Township Veterans Memorial committee. He loved getting ideas for the memorial by visiting other sites. SUBMITTED PHOTO

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John Carboy Jr. was an active member of the Fairfield Township Veterans Memorial committee. He loved getting ideas for the memorial by visiting other sites. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Two years after his death, John Carboy Jr.’s wish is closer to becoming a reality.

A Marine in the mid-1960s, Carboy wasn’t active during Vietnam, but he said those who served were mistreated by disgruntled anti-war protesters when the soldiers returned home.

That mentality shifted after some of the recent conflicts and rapidly dying World War II veterans, more than ever, are celebrated for their service.

Fred Valerius, who serves on the Fairfield Township Veterans Memorial committee, remembers a conversation he had with Carboy, who had a leading role in its design: “They didn’t get that after Vietnam,” Carboy said of the soldiers who were criticized for following orders. “We need to level out the playing field. Make sure all veterans feel valued and respected, even honored.”

That’s the goal of the Veterans Memorial that will be located at Heroes Park at the intersection of Millikin and Morris Roads, Valerius said.

“We need to increase the value we place on our veterans,” he said. “We need to send a message that will be left for the next generations. We must create a culture of appreciation.”

In honor of Carboy’s many years of service on the veterans memorial committee, the inaugural John Carboy Classic Golf Outing that benefitted the project was played Friday at Walden Ponds Golf Course in Fairfield Twp.

Carboy, 74, died of a massive heart attack on Sept. 10, 2019, his daughter Lisa Kuethe said.

When her father’s close friends asked about naming the fundraiser in his honor, Kuethe said the family was “very humbled, excited and honored.”

After her father’s death, four years following the death of his wife, Karin, Kuethe found a thick spiral notebook where he meticulously chronicled the plans for the veterans memorial. He visited numerous veterans memorials, took pictures of them and noted what he liked and disliked about each one.

“That was his way of putting an imprint on it,” his daughter said.

Kuethe, 54, said she and brother, Bill, 50, had a close relationship with their father. She said her father taught her how to play the piano and mentored her in business and he enjoyed coaching her brother through his golf career and spending hours together in preparing the race car for competition.

But it wasn’t until after his death — after they met people at the funeral and read hand-written sympathy cards — did they realize the reach of their father’s kindness.

“Dad was just a phenomenal man,” his daughter said. “My dad took an interest in kids and friends. It’s hard to imagine the peoples’ lives he touched. He was a mentor to so many.”

That included other committee members, Valerius said.

“He just plowed through everything,” Valerius said of his close friend. “He looked at things from an engineer’s viewpoint. He always had a plan and a way to follow the plan.”

Now his family and friends want to complete that plan.

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John Carboy Jr., an active member of the Fairfield Township Veterans Memorial committee, often visited other memorials to get ideas, including at Brave Park in Symmes Twp. SUBMITTED PHOTO

John Carboy Jr., an active member of the Fairfield Township Veterans Memorial committee, often visited other memorials to get ideas, including at Brave Park in Symmes Twp. SUBMITTED PHOTO

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John Carboy Jr., an active member of the Fairfield Township Veterans Memorial committee, often visited other memorials to get ideas, including at Brave Park in Symmes Twp. SUBMITTED PHOTO


HOW TO DONATE

WHAT: Fairfield Township Veterans Memorial

WHERE: Heroes Park, intersection of Millikin and Morris roads

COST: $325,000

DESIGN: The granite memorial will be etched by Laser Imaging and Design of Lebanon

DONATE: Donations can be made to the Fairfield Community Foundation Veterans Memorial Fund at fairfieldcomunityfoundation.org . Information on the Veterans Memorial can be found at fairfieldtwpvets.com and on the Committee’s Facebook page: Fairfield Township Veterans Memorial.

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