Council focuses on Winters, all vets

By on June 19, 2013


GARY P. KLINGER Review Correspondent

, Staff Writer

Meeting just days after the dedication of the Richard D. Winters Memorial Trail, Ephrata Mayor Ralph Mowen and council President Dale Hertzog expressed their gratitude for the man’s contribution during the regular meeting of the Ephrata Borough Council.

"I wanted to say a special ‘thank you’ to council for the approval at last meeting for the placement of the (Leadership Memorial) monument," said Mowen. "We held the trail dedication on (June 6) which was attended by a fairly good group of people. I think things have kicked off."

Hertzog, too, was at the dedication ceremony. He noted the comments of Jill Peckelun, daughter of Richard D. Winters, who had comments on behalf of the Winters family that were part of the ceremony’s brochure. In it she says, "Going forward in the future we think that Dad can best be honored by focusing now on the still living veterans and active soldiers who are among us. It is their time now. They are the ones who need to enjoy our well-deserved attention and help. They are the ones we need to thank in word and deed."

Hertzog said those words were among the key take-aways he brought from the ceremony.

"May we take these words to heart and going forward pledge to focus on those living veterans and active service folks around us," said Hertzog. "They truly deserve our gratitude."

In the brochure at the dedication were 10 leadership principles for success Major Winters co-authored. Hertzog cited the 9th principle which is: "True satisfaction comes from getting the job done. The key to a successful leader is to earn respect – not because of rank or position, but because you are a leader of character.

"For myself this is a reminder that true leadership invites others to follow you," commented Hertzog. "It never demands compliance, it never forces allegiance, it never coerces. Leadership respects others and leads with character that is noble, competent, and courageous."

Hertzog also commented on the words of one of the speakers at the ceremony.

"During the dedication ceremony, Robert Hoffman, a close friend of Major Winters, spoke and provided a riveting story of how Major Winters wrote a letter to Tom Hanks withdrawing his participation in the miniseries "Band of Brothers" Hanks and Spielberg were about to produce," stated Hertzog. "Winters disputed how some scenes were depicted and in particular how his men spoke when interacting with each other. Mr. Hoffman went on to explain that Winters objection cost the production company millions of dollars for that change and any anticipated objections Major Winters could have. We clearly get another glimpse of the man; some may call it character but in this case I don’t think anyone could dispute this is an excellent example of living a "principled" life. Major Winters clearly wanted to get it right. He resisted the temptation to go with the flow. Principle was more important than profit or pleasing others."

In closing his comments, Hertzog shared some perspective on the efforts to create a Leadership Memorial.

"As there is currently a group seeking to honor Major Winters with a statue type memorial, may we never forget what he taught us," said Hertzog. "Let us look beyond the famous person depicted on the silverscreen and seek to emulate the character, humility, and principled life of this man. May we as a council seek to lead in the style of Major Winters; one that is competent, principled, and noble. May we as a council and community continually strive to attain the character of Major Winters. Together we will become better people, both individually and collectively as a community."

In other council news, Joseph Patterson and Shirlee O’Leary of the National Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County were on hand to present council with a report on the efforts of the trust and the need for partnership between the trust and local municipalities.

Both Patterson and O’Leary have been meeting with municipalities over the past several months, working their way throughout the county to build such understanding and cooperation. In particular, the group is working on an update to their countywide inventory of historic properties and locations in hopes of helping to assure these properties are preserved, perhaps restored or even updated and repurposed in order to preserve historic heritage. And, in so doing, they are seeking the input and help of all county municipalities to review and help update the list to assure it is complete and accurate.

At each of the presentations Patterson and O’Leary have made to municipalities, the pair stresses the importance of municipalities requiring those filing a demolition permit to state the year in which a building slated for demolition was built, so as to trigger a second look at the building while it can be saved. They explained how a key aspect of the trust’s work is to help develop partnerships, foster communication and create alternatives and solutions which would save troubled properties.

O’Leary stated that too often historic properties are lost by means of "demolition through neglect." In these cases, owners may not have the resources, knowledge or even vision for what could be done, including moving an historic structure. As a result, too often such buildings fall into such a bad state of disrepair as to render them unable to be salvaged.

Patterson and O’Leary’s message was well received by council.

"Is there anything statewide as a guideline for modifying our own demolitions program," asked council member Anthony Kilkuskie.

Patterson explained that each township and borough is different, with ordinances specific to each area. However, he also stated there were certain laws in place which make it a right for people to preserve historic resources.

"There is a state municipal recommendation out there," added O’Leary. "Some boroughs have historic districts or historic overlay districts. Your ordinances need to be modified to accommodate your individual situation. We do bring along certain models for ordinances which the municipalities can use."

Councilman Bob Good also weighed in.

"There have to be some legalities involved," said Good. "It’s one thing if the historic structure is on borough property but if the historical structure is privately-owned and the owner wants to sell that property, what are the legalities to stop that?"

Patterson explained it was discretionary to the owner but stressed that the trust takes the approach of building awareness, fostering collaboration and looking at other options such as moving the building – especially if owner is willing to put some funding, which otherwise would have been put toward demolition, into the cost of moving it instead.

Recognizing the uniqueness of several Ephrata landmarks, Council member George DiIlio questioned Patterson and O’Leary on such items as period architecture and building features.

"We have an art-deco drug store and apartment which is significant because of the relationship to that period," stated DiIlio. "Does the historic trust handle that?"

DiIllio also pointed to historic features such as the Main Theater marquee and ticket booth and the golden arches on Columbia Avenue in Lancaster.

"Primarily our mission is to save historical structures," stated Patterson.

O’Leary added that "It is not just architecture we look at but also what gives it history to the area such as an event or a family that lived there. Those kinds of things would be reviewed. Anything that gives significance to your local history should have extra value and consideration."

DiIlio agreed.

"We certainly can’t save everything but there needs to be that determination," said DiIlio. "The borough can take it so far but at the same time the community needs to look at what we have here."

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