Lyme resident restores local veterans memorial

The month of November is a time to remember all the veterans who serve this country, and to show appreciation for how they put their lives on the line to protect the nation. This year, a young Lyme resident did his own part to show that appreciation.

Evan St. Louis, 17, a senior at Lyme-Old Lyme High School, enjoys gardening as well as other outdoor activities. He has a plethora of experience in landscaping and maintaining the vegetable garden at home. Learning from his mother, Mary Powell-St. Louis, he became a very skilled gardener.

Being someone who both enjoys working outside and aiding the community, St. Louis decided to take on a service project for his town by helping to restore the Lyme Town Hall’s veterans memorial.

“I’ve always been really appreciative for all that veterans have done for us,” St. Louis said. “I have several in my family and several neighbors as well.”

He went on to say how he saw this project as a way of giving back to both his community and the members who serve. The veterans memorial is meant to honor all Lyme citizens who died serving in the military. It recognizes all branches of the military as well as every American war dating all the way back to the Revolution.

It was rededicated in 2015 when it was moved to the place it currently stands after the area was renovated.

St. Louis got approval from the town, the Veteran’s Memorial Association and the Lyme Garden Club. The garden club manages the grounds where the memorial is located. He talked with each group and went over plans for the project. The initial plans went through various redesigns, yet everyone involved was enthusiastic to participate.

After getting all the necessary approvals, St. Louis looked into receiving grants to help fund the restoration. He eventually got the funds he needed through a local community grant provided by the Wal-Mart store in Old Saybrook.

He received help picking out what flowers to plant from his mother, as well as Kathleen Connolly from Speaking of Landscapes in Old Saybrook (also a Times columnist).

Doing the actual work proved to be quite the rewarding experience for St. Louis. People would drive by and say hello to him as he was working, and people passing by would stop to compliment him on his progress. This feeling of satisfaction only increased once the job was finished.

“It looked amazing, and I knew it had really fulfilled the purpose,” he said.

The finished memorial is still standing outside Lyme Town Hall for the public to come and view, and St. Louis and his family encourages everyone to come see. From the colorful flowers to the neatly polished stone, it really is an amazing sight that is very much a testament to how talented he is, as well as how dedicated he is to the community and its veterans. Even once the work is done, he still hopes there is more in store for the humble little memorial.

“I’m hoping that this isn’t just a garden, that it can be continually improved and draw more attention to the memorial and the veterans it honors,” he said.

Paul Garrett is a Times intern and student at Mitchell College.

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