With the passing of my brother, Louie Olivero, I would like to relate some of the accomplishments that he, the mayor and the aldermen did for the city of Peru.
He was the corporation counsel for the city and along with the mayor and aldermen made improvements for the good of the city. Very similar to the improvements Mayor Harl and the aldermen have recently made in the city.
He recommended they build a new police station. Then he was instrumental in getting the Social Security Office to occupy the building that replaced the old Peru police station property.
Probably one of the most important recommendation they undertook was installing a big sewer and water line to Route 80. At that time, money was not plentiful, and the News Tribune editor Herb said, “If this was an investment that people could consider, I wouldn’t invest 25 cents in its operation.” Years later, Herb did apologize to Louie for his editorial comment.
Because of what was done, by installing the water and sewer lines to Route 80, we now have the Peru Mall, Home Depot, Menard’s, K-Mart and many, many other businesses North of the city of Peru that employ people from Peru and other communities, and for that we are thankful.
Also, I was commander of a line company for the 85th division based in Ottawa. The building held space for two line companies and a howitzer battery. The trouble was it was conducive to weather-related problems. Every time it rained, the basement flooded, and the weapons would have to be moved and cleaned.
One day, while cutting Louie’s hair, I told him of our situation in the reserve center, and I asked him if the city of Peru would donate five acres of land to build the reserve center. The Army would pay for all sewer and water facilities to the reserve center.
Coincidentally, Peru was having water problems too in the St. John’s addition. Louie told the city council and the mayor of what the Army had offered. Peru accepted the Army Reserve Center and began the extension of both water and sewer north along Plank Road to the reserve center. This was done while they were correcting the water problems in the St. John’s addition, and both problems were solved.
The reserve center has been an asset to the city. Different units have used the facility, and a quartermaster outfit from the center went to Iraq during the war, and lots of reservists from the surrounding area have used the facility to finish their reserve time required by the Army.
Would it be asking too much for the present mayor and the aldermen to name the reserve center The Colonel Louis Olivero Reserve Center, in his honor. Louie was a jet pilot attached to the OSI (Air Force Office of Special Investigation which is an enforcement agency that provides independent investigations concerning terrorist and espionage threats) that gave intelligence during the Korean War, as an Air Force veteran and later in a reserve capacity.