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Damaged veterans memorial will be repaired

Echo Pilot - 1/9/2018

Two panels from the Greencastle-Antrim Veterans Memorial will be removed from outside Green-castle Borough Hall and sent to Ohio to be restored after being spray-painted by vandals last summer.

A $2 can of spray-paint caused about $10,000 in damage in August with nasty graffiti aimed at police, according to Eden Ratliff, borough manager. The borough will pay the $1,000 deductible and insurance will cover the remaining $8,758.

Volunteers have tried to remove the paint, part of a spree that targeted a number of buildings around town, but blue paint is still visible on the half of the memorial that honors veterans from the Revolutionary War to World War II.

The etching on the memorial is so fine it cannot just be power-washed, Ratliff explained. In addition to the names of those killed, the panels are etched with scenes from the war and the era.

Greencastle Bronze and Granite is overseeing the repair process, which will begin when it is a little warmer and drier and involves shutting down North Washington Street and bringing in a crane.

Suction cups will be placed on the panels so they can be lifted into crates and shipped to Ohio, explained Duane Schroyer, who chaired the committee that developed and erected the monument. The work has to be done very carefully because granite is susceptible to chipping.

In Ohio, the panels will be resurfaced, polished down and re-etched, according to Schroyer.

"It's possible some of the people who committed the vandalism have relatives whose names are on the memorial," Schroyer pointed out.

The memorial was suggested by Ben Thomas Jr., then Antrim Township administrator, and a joint committee was formed in January 2007 by VFW Post 6319 and American Legion Post 373 "for the purpose of designing, funding and erecting a memorial to honor all veterans from the Greencastle-Antrim area who died in service to our country during all of America's war and conflicts."

More than $75,000 was raised, ground was broken on June 2, 2008, and the memorial was dedicated on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2008. Its panels run on either side of an obelisk that was placed in 1989.

When it was dedicated, the memorial bore 120 names, beginning with Revolutionary War casualties: Campbell, Dugan; Downey, Ezekial; and Sterrit, William.

It now bears 121 names as it honors Bitner, Benjamin F., a U.S. Army master sergeant killed on April 23, 2011, while serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom, as the latest Greencastle Antrim veteran "who made the ultimate sacrifice."

 
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