In wake of councilman's death, others stepping up for his Purple Heart Trail initiative
UPDATE: On Friday, Kovalick said they had raised enough money for the expenses related to the plaque.
BATON ROUGE- An effort is underway to purchase a plaque to honor American heroes; An effort championed by the late Councilman Buddy Amoroso.
Amoroso was working on the initiative when he was killed Saturday.
Last August, the East Baton Rouge Metro Council proclaimed Jones Creek Road as part of the Purple Heart Trail. It's a proclamation that comes with plenty of meaning. The purpose is to create a symbolic and honorary system of roads, highways and bridges that give tribute to the men and women who have been awarded the Purple Heart.
Honoring those who served and are currently serving is something Councilman Amoroso loved to do. Before he was killed Saturday, he was working on a plaque for Jones Creek Road.
John Kovalcik was helping to design the memorial sign.
"In mid-June he contacted me and we started working on the idea," Kovalcik said. "[The plan] got all the way with him collecting money from donors, and of course the tragedy struck on Saturday."
Immediately, Kovalcik and others knew they needed to finish what Buddy Amoroso had been working on.
"It's time-sensitive because he wanted this done in August," Kovalcik said.
The problem is the plaque that is being designed will be free-standing and costs around $3,000. Although Amoroso had donors lined up, it's something he was doing on his personal time. No one knows who he reached out to already.
"We owe all of our freedoms to those who go out and serve us," Councilman Dwight Hudson said. "That's what Buddy would want us to think about and that's why we're doing this."
Hudson recalls hearing his colleague at council meetings discuss the Purple Heart Trail and getting the plaque for Jones Creek Road. It's why he's now helping push the issue to make the wishes a reality.
"This is something Buddy was really passionate about," Hudson said. "Buddy was always a big proponent looking out for first responders and those in the armed forces, and we want to make sure we continue this legacy for him and see this through."
If you would like to help make a donation, Blue Star Mothers of Louisiana is the organization collecting donations.
Checks can be sent to:
PO Box 86507
Baton Rouge, LA 70879
Payments can also be made to Bluestarmoms.net where there is a link to the group's PayPal account.