ALTON - Organizers have scheduled the Annual James Killion Day for 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 27, 2023, at James Killion Park at Salu in Alton.

The James Killion Park Beautification and Enhancement Committee are organizing the event. The annual day is to celebrate the birthday, life, and contributions of James Killion Jr. and also to pay tribute to the local veterans of the past, present, and future.

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Alton Mayor David Goins, Killion family members, local veterans, and other dignitaries will be in attendance. Entertainment will be provided by DJ MattDeeCat and the Riverbend Community Gospel Choir.

James Killion Jr. was an Alton High graduate and a World War II veteran, serving in the 25th Infantry. He was part of the Normandy Invasion. He also was in the Army Reserves for 12 years. He was also a Shurtleff College graduate and attended the University of Illinois and the University of Missouri Steelworkers Institute of Laborers and Industrial Relations. He was a furnace operator at Laclede Steel in Alton and retired in 1983 after 38 years. He was an active member of the United Steelworkers 3643 where he served as treasurer for 14 years.

He also was on numerous area boards, including the United Way, and was very active in the Alton community. He served as a Sunday School Superintendent for 28 years at Allen Chapel A.M. Church. He died in 1997 and the park was eventually named after him. James and his wife, Hazel, had four children - three daughters and a son.

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Alderwoman Rosie Brown, one of the organizers of the Killion Memorial event, said they will also honor James Killion III, who died this past year along with the recognition of his father.

“We will be doing a tribute for James Killion Jr. and James Killion III and all the other living and non-living veterans. James Killion Jr. was obviously a beacon of the community and it will serve as a pre-Memorial Day celebration.”

Sheila Goins, another event organizer, agreed with Rosie that James Killion Jr.'s contributions to the City of Alton can never be forgotten and that he leaves such a strong legacy. She, too, is so thankful the park in Alton has been named after the area legend.

Sheila added that she and her husband, Alton Mayor David Goins, are looking forward to the Killion Day Celebration and it will be a free event paid for by sponsors. More information to come on the Killion event prior to the big celebration day.

If you would like to be a volunteer or to become a sponsor of the recognition day, or need more information, please contact Sheila Goins at (618) 410-0654 or Rosetta Brown at (618) 580-2394 by May 15.

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