benchBreese police and city officials were recognized at the Oct. 1 dedication of a park bench in memory of Vince Wesselmann of Breese. Pictured (from left) are Breese police officers Curt Detmer, Sgt. Mark Berndsen, mayor Charlie Hilmes, Mary Barbara Kurtz of Catholic Holy Family Society, Breese park supervisor Ernie Gebke, and police officers Ryan Isaak and Samuel Lohman. (submitted photo)    At 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 1, a number of people gathered at North Side Park in Breese for a short ceremony dedicating a park bench in honor of Vince Wesselmann, who has been missing since April 22, 2011. 
    The bench was donated by Catholic Holy Family Society  (CHFS) and was made by members of the Breese Park District. A plate was made for the bench and reads: Dedicated in Memory of Vince Wesselmann, Missing Since 2011. From the staff & board of directors, Catholic Holy Family Society.
    Those in attendance were: Sandra Bouchard, CEO, and Mary Barbara Kurtz, vice president of marketing, and members representing CHFS; Breese Mayor Charlie Hilmes and officers with the Breese Police Department; Ernie Gebke of the Breese Park and Recreation Department; and members of the Wesselmann family.
    Kurtz spoke about Vince and his dedication to and attendance at Catholic Holy Family Society’s yearly Habitat for Humanity builds in the area for many years.
    Hilmes also spoke to the attendees, followed by Aggie Dumstorff, Vince’s sister, who thanked all those for coming to the ceremony.
    Mike Jennings of Camp Ondessonk spoke of the yearly trips Vince made to volunteer at the camp — located in the Shawnee National Forest near Ozark in southern Illinois — to make improvements to buildings there since the 1960s. 
    The bench will be placed by the baseball diamond as a remembrance of Vince for the entire Breese community to enjoy and reflect on.
    Wesselmann was last seen by a neighbor walking near Breese Grain Company, at North First and North Walnut streets, toward downtown Breese. He did not show up at the post office that day to pick up his copy of the Breese Journal newspaper, as was his habit. A number of searches by area and regional law enforcement teams turned up no clues.
    Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Vince Wesselmann are asked to call the Breese Police Department at 618-526-7226.

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