As our community gets through the beginning of 2021, I thought it was important to honor three great veterans that we have lost. Veterans are like time capsules. They can teach us so much from their experiences about where we have been as a country and how to look to the future with a sense of history. When we lose veterans, we simply lose treasures.

Ervin Aronowski passed away in April 2020. He was living in Homer Glen, but he was always a Riversider at heart. He served in World War II from 1944 to 1946. While we had not seen him at American Legion Post #488 meetings, we kept his membership up with the post because of our respect and honor for him. People looked up to him as if he was a father to them.

Lester Schueneman passed away in November 2020. He was a lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Corps and was a member of American Legion Post #488; he was a legion member for over 18 years. 

When American Legion Post #488 went virtual last year, he wanted to attend meetings but the technology was a bit of a challenge for him. He lived and worked in Riverside for years before moving to Darien. 

If you asked Lester to provide you with his address, he would always default to his old Riverside address. He never lost the spirit of Riverside from his heart.

Dr. Joseph Discipio was a military dentist long before I ever met him as child. He was my family dentist and my godfather. He was like a father and a grandfather to me … all in one. 

He was an incredible dentist. He was a life-long member of the American Legion. I tried to get him to transfer to American Legion Post #488 many times. I was proud of his service and expertise. I loved him. His passing leaves an empty spot in my heart. 

The members of American Legion Post #488 and Sons of the American Legion Squadron #488 will not forget these great individuals. We salute them, we will miss them, and we honor them as we honor all those that have preceded them. We have lost three treasures from our community.

Joseph Baar Topinka, post commander
American Legion Post #488