East Cocalico rededicates Veterans Friendship Memorial

By on November 14, 2012

By: ALICE HUMMER Review Correspondent, Staff Writer

Local dignitaries get ready to start the ceremony. They include (left to right): East Cocalico Twp. Manager Mark Heister; East Cocalico Supervisor Alan Fry; Commander Dale Fitterling; Quartermaster Larry Rutt; Senior Vice-Commander Jeffery Wenrich; and Junior Vice-Commander Donn Taylor, all from the Reinholds VFW's Honor Guard.

It’s huge, it’s big (seven tons), it’s bright both day and night, and, with the seven large flags flying atop tall poles, it’s spectacular.

The newly refurbished and landscaped Veterans Friendship Memorial at the intersection of Route 272 and Denver Road is a destination to visit.

In warmer weather people can sit at the nearby picnic table and enjoy a beverage purchased from Turkey Hill, on whose property the monument sits.

Formerly located across the street, in front of the Comfort Inn, current property owners have use for the land on which the monument was anchored.

"Turkey Hill stepped up to the plate from the beginning," said Tony Luongo, Zoning Officer for East Cocalico Township.

"They (Turkey Hill) have leased the land to us for 99 years. Turkey Hill installed state of the art, low-level LED lighting around the perimeter of the monument, and will pay for the electric needed to keep the monument lit from dusk to dawn."

There are literally hundreds of workers from businesses, government officials, local VFW Posts, ROTC officers and volunteers who made the monument’s move and refurbishing possible. The dedication program lists 28 organizations/entities who voluntarily helped to make the project successful.

Reamstown resident and active duty Naval officer, Terry Mullins, after caring for the monument in its former location, wanted to restore the monument to its former glory. With the blessing of East Cocalico Supervisors, Luongo, became the "point person" for initiating the many contacts with businesses and individuals to get the project moving.

The project’s culmination was Sunday, Nov. 11th at 2 p.m. when about 100 citizens gathered for the dedication, or, more accurately, rededication ceremony.

Stirring patriotic music from the 20 plus member Bowmansville Band, along with Millersville University’s ROTC Parade of the Colors and Reinholds VFW’s Honor Guard raising the American Flag, made for an uplifting ceremony, where more than one person was seen wiping a tear from their eye.

The perfect weather — clear blue sky, sunny and warm — made the entire event a pleasure to attend for everyone.

Alan Fry, a Navy veteran and the only E. Cocalico Twp. supervisor able to attend, delivered a concise and stirring reflection, which was well received by the audience’s applause.

Luongo publicly thanked all the skilled workers and business/individual donors who gave their time voluntarily.

Mullins read "Old Glory," and retired Army chaplain, Joseph Batluck concluded the ceremony with a prayer of blessing.

Mark Heister, Township Manager and Master of Ceremonies, allowed the crowd insight into the magnitude and many months of long, hard work needed to bring the project to fruition.

The celebration continued inside the Comfort Inn, where everyone in attendance was treated to a buffet luncheon sponsored by Comfort Inn owners Jeff and Rita Wilder and Red Rose Catering of PA, located in East Petersburg. More MEMORIAL, page A11

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