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DePue man keeps Memorial Day tradition alive

(BCR photo/Goldie Currie)
Frank and Inez Montez of DePue place a flag near the headstone of a veteran's grave in St. Mary's Cemetery in DePue. The Montez family has carried the tradition of placing flags on veterans' graves during Memorial Day weekend since 1996 when Montez became VFW commander. Although Scott Quesse of DePue is now the VFW commander, he is determined to keep the tradition alive.

DEPUE – Although Frank Montez of DePue is no longer the VFW commander, he could still be found in the cemetery days before Memorial Day placing flags near the headstones of buried veterans.

Since he first became VFW commander in 1996, he and his wife, Inez, have carried on the well-known community tradition.

“It gives me honor to put them on the graves,” Frank, who is a Korean War veteran, said.

The tradition involves placing flags to honor around 139 veterans in DePue, Seatonville and Hollowayville’s cemeteries. In previous years, the Montezes have discussed fear that no one would be willing to carry on the tradition when they no longer could, however this year, that worry was lifted when new VFW commander Scott Quesse and his family and friends stepped up to help.

As a new commander, Quesse said he feels it’s a priority to keep the tradition going every Memorial Day.

“It’s important to me, because it honors our veterans that have served our county and that have passed on,” he said.

Although he is commander, Quesse said he still feels like the tradition is still Frank’s project, and he is just his assistant.

“I’m just assisting him, but hopefully someday I’ll be able to fully take over,” he said.

The Montez family was grateful for all the help they received this year.

“I only hope they don’t let it go, which I don’t think they will because I’ll push it,” Frank laughed. “I’ve had this (project) for quite a few years, and I just want to keep it going.”

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