Ray Olley Memorial Project
This project was initiated by Jojo Sayson, President/Founder of Project Michelangelo Foundation (for children’s empowerment & rescue missions) in partnership with Eric Peterson of Project Headspace & Timing (for PTSD assistance & prevention of PTSD-related suicide), the 2 foremost service organizations that Ray Olley supported through the years. This initiative is called the Ray Olley Memorial Project or ROMP, NFP (non-for profit corporation registered in the State of Illinois & and a 501(c)(3) approved organization by the US Department of Treasury Internal Revenue Service Tax Exempt & Government Entities. The ROMP is now offered as a public community to national activity in partnership with Veterans of the US Armed Forces; Veterans of US Allied Forces; community rescuers & emergency responders; dedicated patriots & proud American citizens. The ROMP is purposed to continue activities past its completion date (with any funds received after costs are satisfied) for awareness against animal cruelty, extension of assistance to veterans & community responders suffering from the devastating effects of PTSD, military events, appreciation events for spouses of vets with PTSD, & military history education for children to facilitate the understanding & commitment to the ideals & value of democracy.
To recognize and honor all Service members of the United States Armed Forces for their sacrifice and laying down of life during WWII, all wars and conflicts to defend democracy.
To recognize the same sacrifice by Allied Forces especially during the Battle of Leyte Gulf 1944, the largest naval battle in history during the liberation of the Philippines under the command of General Douglas MacArthur.
To raise awareness of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) suffered by our Servicemen and prevention of PTSD-related suicide.
To raise awareness against animal cruelty especially with Service Dogs.
To leave a legacy of hope to our children to treasure the love of country for future generations
The construction of a Memorial featuring a 6 ft. tall bronze statue of WWII Veteran Ray Olley USN & Elinore, Ray’s best friend and ship’s mascot, who was lost at sea during the Battle of Leyte Gulf 1944, the Liberation of the Philippines.
the “Official Spokesperson” for the Ray Olley Memorial
Trina Parks, Hollywood actress, the first African-American Bond Girl aka “Thumper” who co-starred with Sean Connery in the James bond 007 movie “Diamonds are Forever” 1971; Trina Parks Vets22 Suicide Prevention House; Board of Director, Project Michelangelo Foundation
QM2 Raymond “Ray” Joseph Olley USN, (1923-2020) served as Signalman of LSM-311, recipient, post-humous Gold Congressional Medal, Victory Medal, and Liberation Medal issued by the Republic of the Philippines for his bravery, valor, and unselfish acts during the Battle of Leyte Gulf 1944, the Liberation of the Philippines under the command of General Douglas MacArthur; and for his return to the Philippines during peacetime to engage in humanitarian effort to assist building houses for the poor in Samar Island. After the war, Ray suffered from a condition now known as PTSD from witnessing his friends perish, though he was unscathed, by machine gun fire from a Japanese Zero that strafed his ship. His PTSD was compounded by the loss of his dog, his best friend Elinore thrown overboard from his ship headed back to port in San Diego, California. Ray had difficulty coping as a civilian but he loved the Filipino people who he helped liberate and still mustered the will to return back to Leyte and Samar, Philippines after the war, this time as a humanitarian and helped a local church build small houses for the poor. Upon return to New Jersey, his birthplace, Ray was still coping with signs of PTSD, and continuously haunted by the loss of Elinore, Ray never owned a dog anymore. Ray married Jane, moved to Illinois and raised 7 children but devoted his time volunteering in his local community in Manteno, Illinois singing for St. Joseph Catholic Church and the local Veterans Home, as well as participating in military parades. After the passing of his wife Jane in 2020, Ray’s health deteriorated rapidly. He was 97 but again, even when frail in a wheelchair, Ray helped in a fundraiser and supplies donation for the Veterans Home for all the elderly Veterans that were not allowed to receive visitors from family due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s severe restrictions. 2 months later in the evening of the 4th of July, 2020, Ray breathed his last.
Elinore, a German Shepherd stray pup was found by a 20-year old Ray in New Guinea in 1944. He smuggled her to the ship and lovingly fed the pup by hand and lick from Ray’s fingers dipped in milk. Eventually Elinore grew and could not stay hidden anymore so had had asked permission to keep her aboard LSM-311 and she became the ship’s mascot giving comfort to battle-weary sailors. Out in the Pacific Ocean after the Battle of Leyte Gulf, Philippines and now the ship enroute Stateside toward San Diego, Ray woke up one morning to find out that Elinore was nowhere to be found. He was told by a friend that a crewman threw Elinore overboard to drown. He lost his best friend and until his last days at 97 years before he died, he still talked about how he missed Elinore.
This was Ray’s ship and the last place Elinore could call home!
Laid down, 10 April 1944, at Pullman Standard Car Manufacturing Company, Chicago, IL.
Launched, 24 June 1944
Commissioned USS LSM-317, 28 July 1944, LT. Warren J. Ayres USNR in command
During World War II USS LSM-317 was assigned to the Asiatic-Pacific Theater and participated in the Leyte Operation and Consolidation and capture of southern Phillipines.
There are many ways to make a donation to the Ray Olley Memorial.
Paypal, Venmo, and CashApp payment options coming soon!
Please send any donations in the form of check, cashiers check, or money order to the following address:
Ray Olley Memorial Project
586 William Latham Dr. suites 3 & 4
Bourbonnais, IL 60914 USA
If you have any questions or concerns please contact us at (815)936-1992
If you would like to support the Ray Olley Memorial, please fill out the following fields
Former Chief of Staff, Armed Forces of the
“Republic of the Philippines”
To my valiant Filipino countrymen, my comrades of the United States Armed Forces and its courageous Allies, to the people we protect, & those who love democracy,
World history dictates that victory acquired in all of the wars and conflicts won was never a coincidence of humanity. I believe that the higher powers of an Almighty God favor a country who cherishes the value of human life, dignity, and freedom especially in protecting the children, the elderly, the sick, the weak, and marginalized. As in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, 1944, the liberation of the Philippines under the leadership of General Douglas MacArthur, from the tyrannical Japanese Empire, this largest naval battle in history proved decisive victory for us all because of an incredible will under the flags of our fathers who believe in God, duty, honor, and country.
I am honored to endorse to build the Ray Olley Memorial as a stalwart symbol that will last for generations, to always tell the story to our children and their children’s children, of the sacrifice by the men, women, and support personnel including the Service dogs of the Armed Forces of America and its loyal allied soldiers of the Philippines. It is our duty today to preserve the ideals of Democracy to the next generation for only then will we continue the traditions that will always galvanize us all especially in future times if and when tyrannical rule may rise again to destroy the rights of men.
I know the story of US Navy Veteran Raymond Joseph “Ray” Olley and his bravery during the war, his compassion and love for the Filipino people, and his return to our islands during peacetime to help the poor. I am aware of his pains in losing his friends in battle especially his best friend dog, Elinore lost at sea. I know of his struggles in returning back to civilian life but with an incredible devotion to Jesus Christ as well as his friendship to a native Filipino who became loyal to him until his demise at age 97 last 4th of July 2020. I feel as if I have known Ray Olley as a personal friend and it is my honor to endorse this benevolent project to honor Ray, his dog Elinore and all those who were involved in the Liberation of the Philippines in WWII
I sincerely encourage support from individual citizens to business corporations to contribute in the logistics to build this worthwhile reminder monument, a legacy of hope and beacon of freedom so that our future generations can rally again to defend our countries should evil return to usurp and destroy what others have built upon. Let our battle cry resonate in the hearts of future generations with this opportune symbol, the Ray Olley Memorial. Let us build this without delay.
With utmost sincerity,
Gen Alexander B Yano (Ret.) Former Chief of Staff, Armed Forces of the Philippines
⦁ Jeff Jarvis, license architect, Illinois/Indiana, named the 2013 Manteno Citizen of the Year. Jeff is a 1976 graduate of Manteno High School. After earning his architecture degree at the University of Illinois in Champaign, Jarvis interned with Skidmore, Owings and Merrill in Chicago. His work includes the renovation of Chicago's Union Station, several projects for the Museum of Science and Industry.
Tentative Location: TBA
Target date of completion: July 4th, 2023
Total Cost of the Ray Olley Memorial with Elinore:
Jojo Sayson, President/Founder of Project Michelangelo Foundation projectmichelangelo.org
Eric Peterson, Veteran Army National Guard, President/Founder Project Headspace & Timing projectheadspaceandtiming.org/
Cathy Olley Stevens, Legal Executor of the Olley Estate
David Stejkowski, The Stejkowski Law Firm, LLC
Brian Zasada Sr. USMC (ret.), CDR. BOG Battalion of the ROMP
Steven Wilder, Fire Chief (ret.) City of Bradley, IL
David Ward, CEO Manteno High Performance Lubricants
David Merkle, Colonial Studio