In late 1996 State Vice President, Pete Hypio, and State Chaplain, Gordon Cronin, conceived the vision of a literal forest made up of a variety of trees planted in memory of departed Eagles.
State President, Al Dettloff, appointed State Vice President, Pete Hypio, to look into how to start up the Memorial Forest. State President, Earl Sockow, reappointed Pete Hypio the following year.
State Chaplain, Gordon Cronin, started to build the Pavilion. In May 1997, prior to the completion of the Pavilion, Brother Gordie left us way too soon. The dedication ceremony was held on May 23, 1998 with the planting of four trees.
This was State President Pete Hypio’s project for his year. Pete appointed the first full Memorial Forest committee; Jerry Grizzle, Les Cooper, and chairman Doug Roberts. Madam State President, Cherie Kelley-Hunter appointed her committee of Janet Downer and Kathy Carriveau.
Eighty acres was set aside for the forest. After the pavilion was erected, the American flag that flew over the U.S. Capital in Washington, D.C., flew in front of it.
Future plans include walkways and a directory so visitors can find trees planted for their loved ones. The forest was established to honor our deceased members. All trees planted have a wooden plaque in front of them with the name of the person or group it is dedicated to and who donated the tree.