|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 12, 2005|
||Press Secretary Carlene Orig|
Mayor Barrett Renames Southside Playground in Honor of Vietnam War Hero
Milwaukee-- Mayor Tom Barrett today announced the City of Milwaukee has renamed the Cleveland Playground located at 1020 W. Cleveland Avenue to "Modrzejewski Playground". Robert Joseph Modrzejewski was born on July 3, 1934 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and began his military career with the United States Marine Corp when he was 23 years old. He fought in the Vietnam War and rose to the ranks of Colonel. On March 12, 1968, during a ceremony at the White House, President Lyndon B. Johnson presented the Congressional Medal of Honor to Robert Modrzejewski for his actions during Operation Hastings. Colonel Modrzejewski became the first Wisconsin citizen to become a Vietnam Medal of Honor recipient.
Colonel Modrzejewski spent most of his early childhood living on the south side of Milwaukee. Much of his spare time was spent at the playground near his house playing baseball and basketball. He also learned how to swim at Cleveland playground. "Colonel Modrzejewski sets an example of athletics, outdoor recreation and patriotism that we can all follow," said Mayor Barrett. "Through his military career and dedication, he has defended our country and our freedom. 'Modrzejewski Playground' will serve as a reminder of his accomplishments."
Through dozens of letters petitioning the name change, Alderman Bob Donovan helped pave the way by sponsoring a resolution requiring the name change to the playground. "Renaming Cleveland playground to honor Colonel Robert Modrzejewski will serve as an excellent reminder of his distinguished life in the south side where he grew up," said Alderman Donovan.
The playground is located in the 12th Aldermanic district in Milwaukee now represented by Alderman James Witkowiak. "His name and heroic deeds are now memorialized for present and future generations," stated Alderman Witkowiak.
Colonel Modrzejewski retired after serving 30 years in the Marines. He then taught Reserve Officers Training Corps [R.O.T.C.] and physical education for seven years. The Colonel and his wife, Diane, are now enjoying their retirement in San Diego, California. Colonel Modrzejewski is Secretary on the Board of Directors for the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.