Veterans Way Honorees

Digital Tour

Banners honoring Veterans and members of the military proudly hang along 4th Street in downtown Waterloo from Memorial Day in the spring to Veterans Day in late fall.  Banners are sponsored annually by family members, friends, businesses and organizations and are presented to them at the end of the season, making room for a new group of honorees.   Find the location of each banner here. 


Navy 1943-1944

Paul Burger was a member of the Navy Air Corps. He trained and served in Norman, Oklahoma, Texas and served overseas in the Pacific Islands. He boxed while in the service. Paul passed away at the Veterans Hospital in Iowa City in November 1954, from a brain tumor, leaving a widow, Myrtle Burger and three small children; David, Kathy and Larry.


Army, Air Force

CW3 Scott Blakesley has 30 total years of military service; 20 years as enlisted, and 10 years as a commissioned Warrant Officer. During his enlistment, he was an aircraft mechanic on F-15 Eagles, F-16 Fighting Falcons and UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters. As an officer, he served as the Battalion Movement Officer and was assigned to serve as the Production Control Officer. Scott has traveled all over the world, completing annual training events. He was deployed twice to the Middle East in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Inherent Resolve/Operation Spartan Shield. Scott has called the Cedar Valley home for the last 25 years.


Air Force - 4 Years

Mr. Rex Bell was born on September 2, 1937, in Waterloo, Iowa, to the proud parents Rudolph and Alcoza Bell. Growing up in Waterloo, Rex attended local schools and excelled academically and athletically. A varsity basketball standout, he graduated from East High School in 1955, marking the beginning of a life characterized by service, adventure, and dedication. Military Service In 1956, a year after his high school graduation, Rex made the decision to serve his country and joined the U.S. Air Force. His commitment to duty was evident during his four years of active duty, from 1956 to 1960. During his service, Rex exemplified the values of the Air Force, demonstrating integrity, service before self, and excellence in all he did. His time in the military not only honed his discipline and resilience but also instilled in him a profound sense of responsibility and patriotism. Post-Military Career After honorably separating from the Air Force in 1960, Rex returned to his roots in Waterloo, Iowa. He embarked on a new chapter in his professional life by joining John Deere Tractor Works, a cornerstone of the community and a leading manufacturer of agricultural equipment. Rex’s dedication to his work was evident in his 30-year tenure with the company, where he contributed significantly to its success before retiring in 1996. In addition to his work at John Deere, Rex served his community as a Deputy Sheriff for Black Hawk County. In this role, he continued to exemplify the values instilled in him during his military service, demonstrating leadership, courage, and a commitment to the safety and well-being of his fellow citizens. Personal Life and Interests Beyond his professional accomplishments, Rex had a passion for bowling and was a man of adventure and a lover of the great outdoors. An avid fisherman and hunter, he found joy and peace in nature’s bounty. His adventurous spirit was also evident in his pursuit of flying. Rex became a licensed FAA private pilot, embracing the freedom and exhilaration of soaring above the Iowa landscape. Flying was not just a hobby for Rex; it was a manifestation of his lifelong pursuit of freedom and exploration. Family Rex’s personal life was as rich and fulfilling as his professional and service endeavors. Born from three unions, he was a father to six children: Cassandra, Sheryl, Doris, Rex Jr., Roxanne, Nicholas, and Rodney. His role as a father was characterized by the same principles he lived by: dedication, love, and guidance. Legacy Mr. Rex Bell’s life story is a testament to a life well-lived, marked by service to his country, commitment to his community, and devotion to his family. His legacy is carried on by his children and the many lives he touched through his work, service, and personal passions. Rex Bell, a true son of Waterloo, Iowa, leaves behind a legacy of honor, adventure, and unwavering spirit.


Army - 23 Years

Ed Ball was an enlisted soldier in the U.S. Army. He served for 23 years retiring at age 40 as Sgt. Major.



2 years Jerry Zbornik’s hometown is Waterloo, IA and currently lives in Decorah. He is a Viet Nam Veteran and served from 1968-1969. Was a forward observer for a 105 Battery. Gene Schutte, Jerry Zbornik, and Robert W. Schlorff II joined the Marines together. He is retired from John Deere.



17 months John (Jack) Justing Youngblut grew up on a farm in Gilbertville. He enlisted in the Navy after graduation from West High School Waterloo. John passed away from a malignant brain tumor at age 42. He was owner of Youngblut Well Drilling at the time of his death.



4 Years Robert Andrew Wise was born in Cedar Falls, Iowa. He enlisted at age 17. After basic training at Great Lakes, he went off to San Diego for electricians training. After completion of training, he shipped off aboard the USS Hubbard in the Engine Room where they served and protected from Alaska to Australia. He also participated in Operation Wigwam.



1945-1952 Dale Almeron Wienands was born in LaPorte City, Iowa. He joined the Navy in 1945 and served on an aircraft carrier. He served in the south Pacific and was in involved in all major battle’s up to and including the invasion of Saipan to aid in the capture of the “last Japanese command post” just prior to the Enola Gay dropping the atomic bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. He came back to Waterloo and got a job driving a truck delivering freight and got married. His son, Mike, was born in 1950. In 1951 he was recalled into the Navy as a “retread”, his second son, Scott, was born in August of 1952 in Boston, MA at the Chelsea Naval Hospital while Dale was out to sea. Dale came back to Waterloo and drove truck until he retired. Throughout his life he become a life member of the Amvets, VFW, and the American Legion serving in the Honor Guard. Dale’s son Scott recalls “He never talked about his time in the military like many WWII vets and it wasn’t until I read Tom Brokaw’s book The Greatest Generation and finally figured out why Dad kept his experiences bottled up inside and didn’t share any of his experiences with my brother and sister and I, he was the epitome of the Greatest Generation!”