WELLSBURG - While crews work to prepare the future site of the Brooke County Veterans Memorial Park, volunteers with the project are asking the public to help them ensure all fallen and missing servicemen are remembered.
Crews with Keith Yost Excavating of Wellsburg have cleared an area for the park overlooking the paddle boat pond at Brooke Hills Park, installed french drains and created a gravel road to the site using a former golf cart path, donating a good portion of the work for the cause.
Howard Armstrong, president of the Brooke County Veterans Memorial Park Foundation - the volunteer group behind the project - said bids will be sought soon for the park's foundation and walkways.
GROUND WORK BEGUN. Crews have begun clearing the future site of the Brooke County Veterans Memorial Park. Standing at the site, which overlooks the paddleboat pond at Brooke Hills Park, are members of its design committee, from left, Paul 'Bud' Billiard, who also is publicity coordinator for the Brooke County Veterans Memorial Park Foundation; Howard Armstrong, the group's president; Charles 'Poke' Beall; and Ernie Stucin. -- Warren Scott
He said after several years in planning, he's pleased to see physical work for the park begin and he and other members of the foundation hope to see it completed by Veterans Day.
Plans call for the park to include a bronze statue created by Tim Schmalz, a Canadian sculptor whose work includes sculptures for the Mother Theresa Memorial in Calcutta, India; the American Soldiers Memorial in Walkhill, N.Y.; and the Fallen Firefighters Memorial Monument in Ontario.
The statue will stand before a granite wall bearing the names of local service members who lost their lives while serving at wartime and those, living and presumed dead, who were prisoners of war.
And a committee of the foundation charged with gathering the names of those veterans is seeking help from the public in an effort to ensure all Brooke County veterans in the two categories are properly recognized.
Comprised of Gene Camilletti, Bobbie Elliott, John Chernenko and Marilyn McCord, the committee recently met with a veterans committee that included Charles "Poke" Beall, Bobby Lauck and Doug Lilly to approve a list of 186 fallen servicemen and 27 POWs.
Camilletti and Chernenko serve on both committees.
The group is asking area residents to bring to their attention any additions or corrections that should be made to the list by calling Camilletti at (304) 737-1566 no later than June 30.
Camilletti said great effort was taken to compile the list, with much of the credit going to Elliott, a member of the Brooke County Genealogy Society.
He said records of local servicemen were obtained from the U.S. and state governments, but the records didn't account for such instances as local service members enlisting outside their home county.
Camilletti said during World War II, many enlisted at the Wellsburg post office, but for the wars that followed, it was common for new service members to be processed in Steubenville or Pittsburgh.
He said Elliott relied on her familiarity with various public records to uncover additional servicemen and fill some gaps in information.
But the committee is asking area residents to review the lists and alert them to any Brooke County service members who lost their lives, whether in battle or from other causes, during wartime, whether abroad or at home; as well as any service member who was a prisoner of war, living, dead or missing.
The group has identified the following prisoners of war during World War II: Army Cpl. Fred W. Beck, Germany; Army Air Corps 2nd Lt. Bruno Branch, Germany; Army Tech. Sgt. John G. Chernenko, Germany; Army 1st Lt. Anthony C. Cipriani, Germany; Army (rank unknown) William R. Deavers, location unknown; Army Pfc. Clarence E. "Bud" Frey, Germany; Army Air Corps Pvt. William J. Geary, Germany; Army Pvt. William R. Hannen, Germany; Army Pfc. Eddie Jackfert, Japan; Army Pvt. John E. Johnson, location unknown; Marine Pvt. Raymond H. Jones, Japan; Army Staff Sgt. Peter Lallone, Germany; Army Air Corps Staff Sgt. Andrew G. McCay, Germany; Army Pfc. Raymond R. Mester, Germany; Army Pvt. Matt Muranye Jr., Germany; Army (rank unknown) Patrick Murry, location unknown; Army Pfc. Birchard A. Patrick, Germany; Army Air Corps Staff Sgt. Anthony J. Peklinksy, Germany; Army Air Corps Sgt. L.W. Robertson, Germany; Army Pfc. Alex Sabo, Japan; Army Pvt. Michael P. Santora, Germany; Army Pvt. Harold L. Smith, Germany; Army Air Corps Staff Sgt. Emil P. Uhor, Germany; Army Pfc. William Urbanski, Germany; and Army (rank unknown) Robert White, location unknown.
It also has identified the following Korean War POWs: Army Cpl. Thomas A. Lyke; Army PV2 Lawrence John Watt; Army Pfc. Bruce D. Boettcher; and Army Pfc. Thomas D. Jones.
The group has identified the following as veterans who lost their lives during the following wars:
World War I: David L. Beard, Ezra B. Cattell, Harold A. Chambers, Harry R. Crow, Bernardi A. Gabriele, Samuel Karnath, Joseph C. Ledger, Everett L. Maloney, James E. Martin, Isaiah G. Newell, Lawrence W. Silver, Charles H. Smith, Ernest H. Smith, Salvatore Stillitano, Harry S. Teeple and Emrys M. Watkins.
World War II: George J. Adamson Jr., Carl E. Atwell, Otis J. Bearden, William F. Bilby, Settimio Bonaventura, Mario A. Boni, Roscoe N. Brady Sr., Albert C. Branciaroli, William J. Brandt, George M. Breuder, George J. Byers Jr., Clifford J. Carr, Antonio T. Casino, Russell C. Cavit, Joseph R. Ciccarelli, Eddo D. Ciccolella, Sebastiano Ciliberto, Robert E. Colley, Roland K. Cook, Harry S. Cooper Jr., Charles C. Corbett Jr., Howard L. Coss, Elmer E. Cox, Eugene O. Crabtree, Carl E. Crawford, David B. Cross, Henry S. Crossette Jr., Harold L. Crossley, John V. Dalesio, Joseph D. Dalesio, Max D. Davis, Donald L. DeGarmo, Lewis A. Diotti, Lawrence C. Dunn, Richard S. Dye, Steve Fodor, Albert P. Foster, Clifford C. Fothergill, Harry J. Francis, William C. Freeland, Andrew Furis, Maynard H. Garner, Nick T. Giglio, George C. Graf, Chester B. Gupp, Herbert W. Haslage, John P. Haught, Russell S. Hayes, Harold E. Hoffman, Norman E. Hunter, Wilbert H. Illig, James W. Jackson, Louis D. Jacob, Perry H. Jacob, Anthony M. Janeshek, John E. Johnson, John R. Jones Jr., Raymond H. Jones, Pete Kavadas, Eustace N. Keesee, Delbert W. Kendo, George J. Lallone, Harold T. Lazaer, James J. Lupinetti, Robert G. Lutes, John L. Lyonett, Walter B. Maluski, Manuel Markos, James E. Marlier, Harry C. Mason, George W. McConnell, John S. McCoy Jr., Wallace F. Mechling Jr., Harold L. Miller, Robert H. Minnis, William J. Moran, Harold E. Mull, George C. Rangos, Martin A. Regan, Robert M. Richey, John R. Roe, Albert M. Rujak, Rocky A. Salatino, Raymond P. Salzarulo Sr., Orrie W. Sanders, Henry J. Sarko, Steve Scivinsky, James D. Shay, Charles L. Shook, Dwight P. Smith, Steve J. Spataro, Derwood Stanton, Max Stemple, Hugh C. Stevenson, Henry F. Stire, Willis B. Stire, Charles R. Sullivan, Robert L. Taylor, William J. Thomas, Mike J. Toat, John Valuska Jr., Joseph Vernarsky, Joseph Viola, Harry O. Walker, Howard R. Watson, John A. Webster, John W. White, Edward D. Williams, William B. Wilson, Terrel H. Wood, Martin M. Worobrow, John J. Yauch Jr., William V. Young and Paul E. Zogg.
Korea: Gary A. Birkhimer, Bruce D. Boettcher, Thomas D. Jones, Harry Machnicki, Ralph J. Mazzaufo, Thomas P. O'Boyle, Roy L. Pease Jr., Wayne F. Snodgrass, Floyd S. Spencer, Paul Stipandic Jr., Earl L. Tharp, Mike Tisik and Lawrence J. Watt.
Vietnam: David W. Beeman, Dennis Bucklew, Mark D. Cool, Joseph R. Craft, Harold C. Dawson Jr., Robert V. Durbin, James L. Ennis, Joe A. Funk II, Richard E. Gillies Jr., Paul S. Goggin, Thomas C. Jones Jr., Harry E. Lauck, Robert L. Lazear, Robert B. Mossgrove, John D. Olenick, Joseph Perito, Raymond P. Salzarulo Jr. and Ray O. Simons Jr.
Afghanistan: Charles J. McClain.
Iraq: Michael J. Smith Jr.
It was Smith's death that inspired the park. At a community memorial service for Smith, a Marine who was killed in a skirmish in 2004, Armstrong remarked that tribute should be paid to all Brooke County veterans.
Joan Nicholson, Smith's aunt, suggested the park and is a member of the foundation.
Paul "Bud" Billiard, the group's publicity coordinator, also has announced Beth Ann Fink of West Liberty is the winner of a get-away weekend that was a prize for a drawing benefiting the park.
The Weirton Holiday Inn, Pepsi-Cola Roadhouse and Undo's Famiglia restaurants provided prizes.
(Scott can be contacted at email@example.com)