MATTOON, Ill. (WCIA) — An important war memorial in Coles County got some much-needed upgrades over the past few weeks.

The World War II Memorial in Mattoon looked its best for Veterans Day weekend, thanks to the Mattoon Knights of Columbus. It had been nearly 25 years since any real maintenance had been done on the memorial. It honors 95 Coles County Veterans who paid the ultimate sacrifice. 

Fourth-Degree Knight Brian Hinton said the memorial was in rough shape. 

“The paint was peeling. The brass stars were getting very tainted, faded. The lettering on the names were getting very faint,” he said. “You could not see it hardly at all, so we decided a couple of months ago we were going to do something.”

That’s when four members of the Knights of Columbus Council #1057 decided it was time to give the war memorial a proper facelift. The process began about a month ago.

“We did the painting, took the stars down, polished them up, repainted the concrete, painted the letters and stuff,” Hinton said. “Our future goal is to get an LED light here that shines up so that you can see it at night. This spring, Home Depot is going to write us — free of charge — some bushes and shrubs to put around it and stuff to to accentuate it a little bit.”

Hinton said he felt a sense of pride working on the memorial. 

“I think it helped me appreciate what they did. Going through and scraping the paint, going through and painting stuff on the ladder, you know, understanding the small sacrifices I did for the huge sacrifices they did. I felt proud in doing it.”