ABILENE, Texas (KRBC) – From the idea to the creation, a lot of hard work has gone into the expansion of Dyess Memorial Park, but now that it’s coming to fruition, Sidney Levesque decided it was time for her to step in and help.
“I have a full-time job and a family but at night when the kid goes to bed, you open up that computer screen start searching,” said Levesque.
She decided to seek out family members of the 79 Dyess airmen and civilian employees who have perished in line-of-duty incidents.
“Their deaths had long-lasting consequences for the people that were left behind,” said Levesque.
It took about three months but she never gave up, finding family members for almost everyone.
“She just did an amazing job and none of the people we’ve contacted have contacted us and said oh that’s not us,” said Doug Williamson, Military Affairs Committee Director of Community Partnerships.
“I just didn’t want to give up. I didn’t want to give up on anybody because I just kept thinking they would want to know,” said Levesque.
They said more than 130 family members and loved from across the nation are set to come to the dedication.
“I wasn’t sure how many were going to be able to come but when I heard how many were coming I just thought this is worth it, this is what they need,” said Levesque.
Levesque even found a surprise of her own.
“Stacy Causey was only four years old when her dad, William Causey, died in a plane crash and she is married to my cousin Steve Schuhmann and we were already Facebook friends and I had no idea about that past,” said Levesque.
Each of the plaques will honor victims of the 22 fatal crashes and on the anniversary day and time of the tragedy, the sun will beam on the names.
“I am really excited to meet them. I hope they really love the memorial and so many people in Abilene worked very hard to make it happen,” said Levesque.
The park is adjacent to The Dyess Museum in the 800 block of Arnold Boulevard, near the intersection of Arnold and Military Drive. The memorial starts at 10 am on Friday and anyone is welcome to attend.