Hometown Heroes

2020 Hometown Hero Banner Program 

The mission of the Marengo Union Chamber of Commerce is to recognize our Hometown Heroes who are serving now, have served, and who are departed. We are not limited to service members for the forthcoming years.  All banners are the property of the Marengo Union Chamber of Commerce unless they have been specifically purchased by the family.  These banners have been printed locally by Marengo Signs and stitched by HyperStitch.  

Each Hero has had the biography written and provided by a family member and have not been fact checked.    

Thank you for taking the time to read about our very own heroes.  We hope you have enjoyed the first of many years to come.  For more information and to nominate your 2021 Hometown Hero, please call the office at 815-568-6680 or email your request to: chamber@marengo-union.com.

Thank you to the City of Marengo Street Department for respectfully displaying these banners.    









2019 Hometown Hero Banners

Lance Corporal George Bauman – USMC – Vietnam


George A. Bauman born January 17, 1950 in Elgin, Illinois.  The first son of Harold and Virginia Bauman.  Grew up in Marengo attending Zion Lutheran School and Marengo Community High School.  Graduated Class of 1968.  George participated in sports – baseball, basketball and football.  He was quarterback his junior and senior years of two undefeated teams.  Classes of 1967 – 1968 started the undefeated string of games which numbered 45.  The classes of 1967 and 1968 were conference champs in baseball, basketball and football.  Do not think any other classes have ever done that.  In basketball, George led the Shark Conference his senior year in scoring with a 22 point average, scoring over 550 points.  This being done before the 3 point shot was started. After graduation, he attended Western Illinois University for one year before entering the USMC.  George took boot camp at Marine Corp Recruit Depot in San Diego, California in 1969.  After boot camp and basic infantry training at Camp Pendleton, he was sent to Vietnam as a 0311 Rifleman.  George was assigned to a Combined Action Platoon.  A CAP unit consisted of 8 – 10 Marines, a Navy Corpsman and a number of Popular Forces.  A PF was a local Vietnamese militia, too young or too old to be in the Army of Republic of Vietnam.  The CAP program was designed to protect the local villages and hamlets.  The CAP Marines lived in and around the villages alongside the local villagers and their families.  During the day, the Marines would run patrols and provide training, security and civic action – medical services to the village people.  At night, they would set ambushes to prevent VC from attacking, infiltrating and harassing the local villagers and elders.  George’s CAP unit, just outside of Danang, was located in what they called the “Rocket Belt”.  Close enough for VC to fire rockets at the Danang airport.  His CAP unit was there to prevent rocket attacks. George was awarded:

  • Vietnamese Campaign Medal
  • Vietnam Service Medal – with 3 stars
  • National Defense Medal
  • Good Conduct Medal
  • Combat Action Ribbon
  • Rifle Marksman Designation

After Vietnam, George ended his Marine career as a Military Policeman (MP).  Once Honorably Discharged, he returned to college at WIU and graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree.  George married Paula S. Osborne in 1972.  Paula the daughter of Dale and Janet Osborne, also local Marengo residents, owned the Marengo–Union Funeral Home.  George and Paula have 3 children – Sarah, Colin and Brittany.  All living and working in the Marengo – McHenry County area.  George is the owner of the Marengo Insurance Agency -along with his daughter, Brittany.



Private John William Benton – US Army – WWII


John William Benton

PVT US Army 1918-Armistice WWII

John W. Benton was born February 1, 1894 in Union to William & Rebecca Benton, only one of seven to survive.  John attended area schools until the fourth grade.  He was chauffeur for E.D. Patrick in 1916 at the age of 22. In 1918 John enlisted because it was his duty to do so. He returned after the Armistice to his chauffeur job and his girl friend Meta Ulrich whom he married January 1, 1921. They had one daughter Margaret. He also had 6 grandchildren, 11 great grand and now great, greats survive him.

In 1935 his wife passed away and in 1937 he wed Gail Webb. They were together over 40 years. He had many jobs over the years – working for BJ Arnold, working at the National sewing machine factory and helping build Marengo High School and the Baptist parsonage. In 1931 he started his own business – Benton Garage. In 1970 at the age of 76 he sold his business and started a job with the city as a parking meter attendant. He was Sgt. of  Arms for the legion for over 45 years and was a charter member. He was a fireman from 1912-1971 at one time being chief. He and his wife Gail were responsible for putting the flags up on main street for the holidays and for putting flags on the graves of area veterans. On Memorial Day he laid the wreath in the cemetery for all the vets up until he died. He passed away in 1985 at age 91.



Private 1st Class Bobby Carroccia, US Army – WWII



Ubaldo “Bobby” C. Carroccia

US Army – Private First Class  June 26, 1041 to December 3, 1943 WWII

Ubaldo Carroccia was born October 6, 1918 in Lenola, Italy.

In 1937, at the age of 19, Mr. Carroccia migrated to the United States in search of the American Dream. He entered the United States legally at the Port of Entry in New York City.

On June 26, 1941, Mr. Carroccia voluntarily joined the Army of the United States. He was stationed at Ft. Bliss in El Paso, Texas and at Camp Grant in Rockford , Illinois. For a short period of time, he was stationed in Newfoundland, Canada.

Sometime during his time in Army, Mr. Carroccia became a citizen of the United States.

On January 31, 1941, Mr. Carroccia was married to Mary Giacone who was born in the United States, but raised in Sumbaca di Sicilia, Italy. Together, they had four children: Eugene, Nicolo, Carmela and John. They were married for 71 years.

On December 3, 1943, Mr. Carroccia received an Honorable Discharge. His last rank was Private First Class.

In 1948, Mr. Carroccia moved to Marengo with his family. He lived in Marengo with his family until the time of his death.

Mr. Carroccia as was known as “Bobby.” By trade he was a cobbler. He enjoyed his trade and being able to provide for his family. He was a proud member of the American Legion and served as Post Commander. He was very proud to be a citizen of the United States, and he loved the people of Marengo.

In July 2012, Mr. Carroccia passed away at the age of 94.

Mr. Carroccia was proud to serve his nation in the US army, but he did not consider himself a hero. Rather, he viewed the he had a job to do and he did it to the best of his ability, so together those that served could create a better nation. He believed the real heroes are those who were not able to come home.




Staff Sergeant John Cooper – US Army – Korean Conflict 



John was born in Chicago on April 7th 1933 to Beatrice Lillian Cooper and John Anthony Cooper. John was the only  son of four children (John, Lynn, Betty, and Violet).  John currently has one surviving sister in Arizona.

The following are the events as best that John can recollect:

After enlisting on October 12th 1952, John was sent to Fort Sheridan in Chicago, then transferred to Fort Knox Kentucky. In those 16 weeks of heavy-weapons infantry training  in the 3rd Armored Division. He was then sent to Camp Stoneman in California to await his destination.

In 1953, John was transferred to Okinawa (BIVE) where he was placed on the 29th Regimental Combat Team until November of 1954 until those colors were retired. John then became a member of the 75th Regiment in “Merrill’s Marauders” in the Ryukyus Command. It was there that John became a Staff Sergeant serving in that occupational force in Okanawa until he was honorably discharged September 22nd, 1955.

Military honors include the “National Defense Service Award”, the title of “Sharp Shooter”, and his unit received the “Presidential Unit Award”. 

After his service, John married Geraldine in Chicago in February 1957, and had one daughter, Kristin Ottolino.  John became an Aeronautical Engineer for Allen Aircraft Radio Corporation in Des Plaines, Illinois. He married Anne Selep in 1987 and stayed with her in Chicago until his retirement.

After his retirement, John and Anne moved to Marengo in 2006 where John became a widower in 2012. During a brief illness, his daughter moved John into her home in Marengo where he resides today. At 86 years old, John is healthy and happy, living with his daughter and his only grandchild, Rio Ottolino.


Private 1st Class Donald Fischer – US Army – WWII



Donald Otto Carl Fischer (Dutch)

Army PFC

June 14, 1943 – October 24, 1945 WWII

Donald O.C. Fischer born September 2, 1924 – died June 24, 1998

He was baptized September 4, 1924 and the son of Albert Fischer and Martha Abraham. By the 1930’s he was living on North Page St. and confirmed April 10, 1938 at Zion Lutheran Church Marengo.  Donald was married November 24, 1946 in his home by Rev. Schaefer from Zion to Margaret E. Kieser.

Military: June 14, 1943 Camp Grant/Honorable discharge. March 23, 1945 rifleman combat infantry man June 26, 1944 Eastern mandated Island Campaign Foreign Service 10 mall days. Member of 12 man rifle squad in combat SW Pacific theatre. Fired M-1 rifle and went on scouting patrols to observe enemy positions and strength.

Children: Don, Jim, John and Ron

Occupation: Trailer truck driver and heavy equipment, dug a lot of basements in Marengo and moved snow. He also worked for Griebels.

Decorations: Asiatic –Pacific theatre ribbon (Saipan), One Bronze Campaign Star, Good Conduct Ribbon, Combat Infantry Ribbon and a purple Heart.

While in Saipan  he was wounded with incoming artillery shells . He spent months in Hawaii in a hospital and then Michigan for re-hab.

Don passed away on June 24, 1998.



Staff Sergeant Dorothy Johnson – USMCWR – WWII



Staff Sergeant

Dorothy Marie Johnson

Served in the USMCWR

(United States Marine Corp Women’s Reserve)

13 November 1943 to 14 January 1946


The year was 1943 and the United States was in the middle of bitter war that we all know as W.W.II. Dorothy Marie Johnson had been trying for over a year to be accepted in the Armed Forces.

The Navy didn’t want her because of her Hay Fever and Allergies. Dorothy had been working for two local physicians in Rock Island and was quite able to administer her own allergy shots but the Navy didn’t want anything to do with her. Jokingly Dorothy always has stated “Maybe the Navy thought I would turn into a drug addict!”

Then one day in 1943, Dorothy received a call from her cousin, Julia Robb Minor (Julie Benell was her stage name), who had a radio talk show in Dallas, Texas. One of her guest that week had been a Women Recruiter from the Marines and guess what, she had allergies herself!

Dorothy did her Basic Training at Camp LeJeune, NC. where she made PFC (Private First Class) straight from Boot Camp. From basic she was sent TAD (Temporary Assigned Duty) to Cherry Point, NC. where she awaited further assignment.

That assignment turned out to be North Island Naval Base off San Diego, CA. Her second assignment was at El Toro, CA. Most her time was spent at El Toro where she was assigned to ABG2 (Air Base Group 2). Her commanding officer was a Col. Parsons.

In January of 1946, Dorothy’s mother fell down a flight of stairs. Her mother’s doctor had contacted the Red Cross who in turn contacted the authorities at ABC2. Dorothy was given an emergency leave of absence but unknown to her they had also authorized an Emergency Discharge. So Dorothy went home to take care of her mother, for what she thought was going to be week to 10 day leave, that turned into the end of her career in the Marines.

Dorothy was truly saddened by this. She knew that she should be home with her mother but she loved the Marines and the job she was doing! It was a sad day all around for Dorothy Marie Johnson!



Corporal E-4 Tony Lodl – USMC – Vietnam


Tony Lodl

Corporal E-4 USMC 

Tony was born in 1949 to an Italian, Bohemian family. Raised on the West side of Chicago in a diverse neighborhood.  After graduating St. Phillips High School, Tony joined the United States Marines.  Tony served as a mortar instructor during the Vietnam War.  After serving his country, Tony was accepted on the Chicago Police Department where he served 30 plus years on the west side of Chicago. Tony was made Detective after receiving over 90 accommodations.   He worked the tact team undercover for gang violence, narcotics and homicide.  Upon retirement, Tony and his wife moved to Marengo 15 years ago.  Tony helps coordinate the Marengo Union Toys for Tots Campaign.  


Staff Sergeant Victor Mortensen – US Army – Korean Conflict 



Victor was born in Marengo on September 21, 1930 to Charles and Clara (Keller) Mortensen.  He was the youngest of three children and the only son.  Victor’s parents farmed on shares and moved several times during his childhood in and around the Marengo area.  Victor graduated from Marengo Community High School at the age of 16 and went to work for a local contractor and had the benefit of working alongside his cousin Donald Krueger as a carpenter until duty called and he was drafted into the Army to serve in the Korean Conflict.

The following is a timeline of his time of service in his words: “On October 1, 1951 I was inducted into the Army at Fort Sheridan in Chicago, IL.  From there I was sent to Camp Chaffee, Arkansas where I spent the next four days until I was transferred to Fort Sill, Oklahoma. While at Fort Sill I took infantry basic training for eight weeks and then went through eight more weeks of artillery training and fire direction school.  The next stop was Fort Lawton, Washington where I boarded a boat to Camp Drake, Japan where I spent three days, drew supplies, and boarded the same boat to Incheon, Korea.  I arrived at Incheon on April 1, 1952 and was assigned to Baker Battery 17th Field Artillery Battalion.”

“While at Fort Sill we trained on 105 Howitzers which at that time I thought was heavy artillery.  When I arrived at Baker Battery 17th Field Artillery and while waiting to be assigned, the weapon closest to where I was being processed received a fire mission.  When that round was fired I had my first taste of heavy artillery and believe me, I was ready to rotate.  After being reviewed by the commanding officer I was assigned to #4 Gun Section where I remained until I rotated.  Having a farm and construction background, I was assigned as an Assistant Prime Mover Operator. Approximately one month later, the regular operator rotated and I became the operator.”

“The Prime Mover Operator stayed with the gun crew rather than in the motor pool.  The Prime Mover was a M4 18 ton all track vehicle.  When living with the gun crew I was filling in all the duties with the cannoneers when I wasn’t driving or pulling maintenance on the vehicle.  The gun crew was happy to have the extra body so they would let me fill in any position. Consequently, during fire missions I filled in mostly as the telephone operator and the number one man whose duty was to fire the weapon.  Later in my tour of duty I would fill in as the assistant gunner or the gunner.  All of these positions kept me in close proximity to the weapon.  As the number one man, the only protection for the ears was to put the muscle of your right arm over your right ear and reach over the top of your head and put your middle finger in your left ear.  The noise and the back blast and concussion were terrific.  When we fell out for fire missions, most of the time our fatigues were bloused in our boots and by the time you had fired 2 or 3 rounds your boots were untied. We were always warned to keep our mouths open to help prevent concussion.  I did my best, but I still suffered hearing loss in both of my ears that plagues me to this day. Our unit was fortunate that we were only hit by incoming artillery about 10 times and only suffered a few injuries to some of our unit and no fatalities. When we fired counter battery it was very short. Two or three rounds and all would be quiet.”

“I entered the Army as a Private First Class and by the time I left Korea I had been promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant. I was rotated from Korea to Fort Mason, California on the 28th day of May, 1953 and transferred to Camp Crowder, Missouri.  On July 15, 1953 I was separated from active duty with a total active time of 21 months and 15 days.”

When Victor returned from service, his parents decided to sell all of their equipment and retire from farming. Due to suffering from severe allergies, Victor supported their decision and took a job at Arnold Engineering as a machine operator.  At the time of his retirement 38 years later he was the 1st shift foreman for Production Machine Shop and Finish Grind.  He also worked part time for several years at Perkin’s Shell Station.

On September 14, 1956 Victor married Carol Driver.  They have lived in the same home on E. Washington St. since 1965 and have raised three children (Sheryl, Scott and Steven).  Through their children they have seven grandchildren and one great grandchild Melissa and Matthew Vogel, Kristin (Mortensen) Talac, Eric Mortensen, Tanner Mortensen, Parker Mortensen, Mackenna Mortensen and Houston Vogel.  


Chief Warrant Officer Danny J Rudy – US Army – Vietnam


Dan Rudy was born on May 2, 1945.  Lived in Union, Illinois and attended Marengo High School. While at Marengo Community High School Dan was active in football, basketball and baseball. Dan went on to study at Bradley University and Weatherford College in Weatherford, Texas, but always knew he wanted to fly.  In 1964 that dream came true when he started to fly at Galt Airport.  Dan entered the United States Army in 1965 under the Warrant Officer Training program and helicopter flight school.  After earning his wings and bars, he was sent to Vietnam.

During the 18 months in Vietnam, he flew 1,634 hours of combat flying time and earned “The Distinguished Flying Cross”, Bronze Star, Meritorious unit commendation, 16 air metals, National Defense Service Metal, Vietnam Service Metal, Vietnam Campaign Metal, 3 overseas bars and the Good Conduct Metal.

Upon completion of his tour in Vietnam, he was assigned as a flight instructor teaching American and Vietnam Cadets how to fly helicopters.

Danny currently resides in Marengo. 




Corporal Allan Wilcox – USMC – Iwo Jima


 Allan Ernest Wilcox

Corporal, United States Marine Corps, 3rd Marine Division         

Dates of Service:  August 25, 1942 – September 23, 1945

Conflict:  WWII Pacific Theater of Operations.  January 15, 1943 – May 17, 1945

Allan E. Wilcox was born March 23, 1922 in Marengo IL.

He was raised by his parents Clarence and Mary Wilcox at 411 Maple St. in Marengo.

Allan was a 1941 graduate of Marengo Community High School.

Allan enlisted in the United States Marine Corps August 25, 1942.

During World War II, Allan was deployed to the South Pacific where he;

  • Participated in offensive and defensive action on Bougainville.
  • Participated in the capture and occupation of Guam.
  • Participated in the capture of Iwo Jima.

“Among the Americans who served on Iwo Island, uncommon valor was a common virtue.”

-Adm. Chester W. Nimitz

After serving in the Marine Corps, Allan returned to marry Crystalyn Hauschildt of Marengo on June 6, 1945.

They lived for a time in Allegan, MI where Allan worked for L. Perrigo Drug Co. as a line supervisor.

They returned to Marengo where, in 1951, Allan built the house in which to raise their family at 204 7th Ave.

Later, along with his brother-in-law Erwin Steffen, Allan would also build the house across the street at 205 7th Ave.

In Marengo, Allan worked as an iron moulder at the Marengo Foundry for 36 years.

He was Post Commander of the Marengo V.F.W., member of the Marengo American Legion and member of the Junior Chamber of Commerce(Jaycees).

Allan served as Marengo Township Clerk for 36 years.

Allan passed away September 2, 2004.

Siblings: David, Max, Ellwood, Dorothy, Harold(Martin), Betty, Mary, Walter and Nancy.

Children: John(Therese) Wilcox of Milford, MA., Paul Wilcox of Rockford, IL

Grandchildren: Angela Swanson, Katy(Taylor) Wieczorek, Michelle(Brad) Boyer of Colorado and Brittany(Joseph) Competello of New Jersey.

Great Grandchildren: Gavin Swanson, Olivia Swanson, Huck Wieczorek, Thatcher Wieczorek