Sunday, July 18, 2021
by Melanie Jongsma
LANSING, Ill. (July 18, 2021) – “We’re all here for the same reason,” said retired Staff Sergeant Jason Johnston to the small group gathered at the Lansing Veterans Memorial. “We’re here to honor Sgt. Taylor Rhodelander. Soldier. Father. Brother. And son.” Rhodelander served in the Missouri National Guard and later the Army Reserves. He participated in Operation Enduring Freedom as an army soldier, and Johnston was his Platoon Sergeant.
Rhodelander also served with Sgt. First Class Mike Sanow (retired), a member of the Lansing Veterans Memorial Ceremonial Honor Guard and President of the Lansing Veterans Memorial Foundation. So when Rhodelander died tragically in January of this year, Sanow made arrangements for his name to be added to the memorial panels at the Lansing Veterans Memorial. He also arranged a private memorial service on Sunday, July 18, which Rhodelander’s parents and other family members were able to attend.
Taylor participated in Operation Enduring Freedom, and “He made a miserable deployment fun,” recalled Sanow. “He was just a good guy to be around.” Sgt. Johnston used words like “charismatic,” “happy,” “real,” and “fun-loving” to describe Rhodelander, and others remarked on his sense of humor and his sense of duty.
The 30-minute service concluded shortly before 3:00pm, and family members and Honor Guard members adjourned to VFW Post 8141 in Calumet City for refreshments and shared memories.
The Lansing Veterans Memorial is located at the southeast corner of Burnham Avenue and Glenwood-Lansing Road.