The General Patrick E. Rea Veterans Plaza honors veterans from each branch of the military and sits adjacent to the south entrance of the 80th Avenue Metra train station, 18001 S. 80th Ave., Tinley Park.
The plaza consists of 317 brick pavers honoring the memories of individual service people; seven pavers in honor of specific groups; and five benches purchased by local veterans’ organizations.
The plaza is named in honor of Retired Brigadier General Patrick E. Rea, also former Village Clerk for Tinley Park. Rea, a Tinley Park native, has a long and distinguished career of professional achievements and dedicated public service. He was commissioned from the University of Illinois ROTC in 1963 and was deployed to Vietnam shortly thereafter. He began his corporate and governmental career in the late 1960s, becoming a Village of Tinley Park commissioner in 1968 while serving in the active and reserve forces of the United States Army.
Rea served as an Assistant Division Commander and Acting Commander of the 85th Division, commanding at every level from platoon to brigade throughout his 30 years of military service.
Having served throughout the United States, Asia and Europe, Rea received the 2004 Secretary of Defense Medal of Outstanding Public Service Award.
Rea became a Village Trustee in 1971 and served as Village Clerk from 2009 to 2017, during which time his leadership and foresight enabled the Village to maintain economic diversity and a sound fiscal position during the largest growth period in the Village’s history. He has been an advocate and supporter of veterans and is credited with the creation of the Village’s Veteran’s Commission in 1974.