Rock Island Arsenal streets honor two veterans from different eras

“He worked for everything but never gave up,” said Karen Orozco Gutierrez. “He made a life where there was no life to be had.”

ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL -  At a place known for service and sacrifice, there's a wish for military families in the Arsenal's newest neighborhood.

"The people that live here have a warm, happy home to live in," said Donnell Baker, on Tuesday, August 21.

She was on hand to help unveil the new intersection of Baker Avenue and Howard Street.  It's also a merging of two veterans from different life-changing eras.

"Milton Howard played the cards of life that Jesus dealt him," said his great-granddaughter, Karen Orozco Gutierrez.  "He made a life where there was no life to be had."

Milton Howard was kidnapped into slavery, a wounded Civil War veteran and an Arsenal employee for 52 years.

"He worked for everything, but he never gave up," she said.

John Baker was short in stature but a giant on the battlefield.  The late Medal of Honor recipient was honored by his family and military brothers, who are in the Quad Cities for a reunion.

"They took care of each other in Vietnam," said Donnell Baker.  "That was the most important thing for these guys - their brothers - and they'd make sure they came home."

Military families in the new housing will get to know the names Baker and Howard very well.

"He would be here, and he would approve," Donnell continued.  "I'm sure he's looking down at us."

"He knew he had one life to live," Karen said.  "He was going to take a shot at it."

In this neighborhood, street names are sending a salute and a wish.

"Good memories to pass on to their families," Donnell concluded.

Plus, a lasting tribute to remember the two men and their lifelong journeys.