On Oct. 14, 2008, the dedication of the Co. F Monument took place on the lawn of the Armory after two years of planning, raising funds and building. Phase I is now complete.
The project, the brainchild of William Menz, who organized the committee and started fund raising to erect a monument in honour of the local men of Co. F who had trained here and were eventually activated for the Spanish-American War, Mexican Border Incident, WW I, WW II, and those who were part of Co. C during the Cold War Era.
I was honoured to be chosen the MC for the event. Eight veterans who were members of Co. F 108th Inf. at the time of activation in 1940 were in attendance along with local Assemblyman Stephen Hawley, State Senator George Maziarz, Medina Mayor Adam Tabelski, whom at this writing is attending Basic Training as a member of the Army National Guard. A large crowd of citizens, members of the Special Troops unit out of Lockport and local veterans were also in attendance.
The Co. F veterans attending were Howard Fitzgerald, John Napoleon, Francis Magner, Leon Morien, Ed Gaskill, Glenn Stewart, John Tarasuk and Ed Carlo.
The Committee was able to secure enough pieces of Medina Sandstone for the base and Monument from Dr. Dale Sponaugle of Gasport, Lee and Maureen Blackburn, Gary Blackburn of Medina, Sandy Hare of Kent. Jordan Rath and the Charles Pettit family also had sandstone they were willing to donate.
Others acknowledged for thir work in getting the Monument completed were Lynne Menz for graphic designs and communications; John Fuller who provided some of the equipment used and the manpower to cut and install the stone; Cathy Fox, who compiled the WW II roster from a scrapbook kept by her Mother-in-Law Rita Fox; and Cliff Fuller for the monument design.
So many local people donated time, equipment and labor that I will not mention all as I will no doubt forget someone. You know who you are and can take pride and satisfaction in knowing you were in part responsible for the final completion of Phase I.
14 Oct. was chosen as the day for the Dedication as it is the anniversary of the day in 1940 when Co. F left Medina after federal activation
Now future generations will see this Monument which is now a permanent reminder of the Honor, Virtue, Valor, Courage and Duty of past generations of our community, for the sacrifices that were made so we can live as we do today.
After the ceremony John Napoleon wrote a letter commenting on the ceremony and donating additional funds for Phase II. Phase II will consist of a bronze life size statue of an American soldier marching in the uniform of Co. F in Oct. 1940, as they left the Armory for active duty. The importance of Phase II can best be put into words by sharing John’s letter.
“First I want to thank you for the news papers you sent and the good news about the statue of a soldier. At the dedication I told a friend that the Monument is not complete, there should be a soldier on top of the Monument. I’m sending a donation for this good cause, I only hope it will not be another year to late as I want to come back for that dedication. I have asked my family and friends that I want no Christmas gifts this year, just money sent to the Monument Committee for the statue. The statue would be the best Christmas gift I evert received. Now I have a friend that is a local businessman that is making a donation. It’s good to keep people informed about donations for this good cause. I only hope they don’t take long as there are only a few of us left and getting fewer. But the Monument will be forever for the families to see and enjoy.
I saved everything about Co. F, photos, letters and books and I will turn over these things to the people of Medina and the small towns around that made up Co. F., so families and friends can see and read about them. Now I am afraid my time with you is running out, after a recent operation they said I was not going to make it. I told them to keep me alive long enough to come back for the Phase II dedication. Once again, I would like to thank everyone for taking the time for this good cause. I hope I’ll make it for the statues dedication.” Let’s hope John continues to maintain his health.
These words have only enforced the Monument Committee to rededicate ourselves even more, to go forward with Phase II NOW. It will be expensive, estimates around 35k. We still are using donations for the current monuments expenses before dedicating monies to Phase II. It will take up to two years to raise the money to have the statue built but I am sure we will succeed as we did with Phase I. Medina and the local community came through and I am sure they will again. John may not see the statue but knowing that the project is under way will be some consolation. Please click on Photo Gallery to view the Dedication Ceremony.
Lt. Col. (Ret.) Richard Glass