The section of Route 251 from Tonica to Mendota in LaSalle County would be known as the Witczak Brothers Memorial Highway, under a resolution (SJR 48) sponsored by State Sen. Sue Rezin (R-Peru) and passed by the Illinois Senate May 18.
“The Witczak family of LaSalle County deserves the utmost honor and respect,” Rezin said. “Seven brothers from the Illinois Valley all serving in either World War II or the Korean War is a unique story that merits recognition. Naming this section of Route 251 is a small token of our appreciation for their service and sacrifice, and a way for our communities to remember them for future generations.”
“All my brothers fought so bravely in so many battles,” Anthony Witczak of Peru said. “This is a great honor to have this road named after my family. My brothers, wherever they are, would really appreciate this.”
The seven sons of Thomas and Clara served in different capacities of the US Military that spanned World War II and Korea. Joseph Witczak, the first brother to enlist, was wounded during operations for the US Army in the Pacific Theatre. John Witczak and Casmir Maurer, the adopted son of Thomas and Clara, both served in the US Army, Pacific Theatre. Anthony Witczak, a sailor in the US Navy during WW II, also served in the Pacific and is the last surviving brother. Francis Witczak was the only member of the family to serve in Germany for the Army during WW II.
Five years after the Second World War, the US began operations in Korea and the last two sons of Thomas and Clara heard the call to service. Both Thomas Witczak and Edward Witczak Sr. served in the US Army during the Korean War.
The seven brothers served the United States a combined 18 years.
“The Witczak family served our great country with honor, courage, and a commitment to keep our nation safe,” Rezin said. “We thank them, all of our veterans, and those serving our country now.”