The Company F Memorial Fund received a generous donation accompanied by the following letter by a former Medina resident, November 2007. We are especially grateful to Mr. Smith for this most moving letter and generous contribution:
“Dear Mr. Menz,
I was very happy to read in The Journal Register the address and name of how to make the check out for the memorial for the Company F, 108th Infantry Regiment of the NY 27th Division, so I could make a contribution. I had read previously that such a plan was underway but could not find out where to send it. I had made inquiries to some friends but they did not know and I even made a telephone inquiry to a supposed committee member but never received return call.
So to make a long story short I was born and raised in Medina and lived at 309 Commercial Street with my family. One of my brothers was Sylvester B Smith with the nickname of “Sally”, who marched with F Company that beautiful October day in 1940, with many of his friends who I also knew. He was my hero. I was a member of Co. L, 174th Infantry for a couple of years during the war and then enlisted in the regular army when I was 18. I also had the distinct honor of being in the honor guard for our Congressional Honor Medal winner John Butts as he lay in the armory before his internment at St. Mary’s cemetery.
Brother Sylvester attained the rank of 1st Lt. in the infantry with the 83rd Division in the European Theater. He was awarded the Silver Star our third highest medal for valor and the Purple Heart. He also was given the Bronze Star, Combat Infantry Badge the European Theater of Operations Medal with three Oak Leaves, plus many other medals. After returning home from service he and two other F Company members Tom Morien and Richard Doberstein went on to St. Bonaventure University to get their degrees. He then spent twenty five years before retiring as a Special Agent with the FBI.
I and my brothers left Medina to seek our livelihoods elsewhere because the opportunities were limited in Medina. However, we often reminisced what a God given gift we were given to grow up in Medina during the depression. We had all the amenities wonderful people, our own Sacred Heart Church, a wonderful high school, with teachers that were superb, a great sports program. Included also was our own swimming holes in the Erie Barge Canal, the quarries, Swetts, Brunners, Wards and the Glenwood Lake commonly referred to as the “Dam”. Fishing in the Dam, Oak Orchard Creek and the canal. Hunting along the towpath adjacent to the canal and Galaghers farm. Plus trapping for skunk and muskrat to make a few dollars. During the summer months during our high school vacation we worked on the muck farms ten hours a day for $2.00 for a ten hour day riding on the open deck of the truck from Medina to the Farms in Shelby and Elba. This was depression time and we were happy to make a few dollars to help support the family, it really made us proud to contribute. I guess I have digressed a little but I wanted to give you a capsule of the background some of the F Company members.
I still visit Medina to see my sister Irene who is in the Medina Hospital nursing home. This gives me an opportunity to visit with a few friends that are still living to reminisce about many of our early days. In fact, I drove down especially to take Tom Marjanowski to see the annual rivalry game between Albion and Medina. It was 62 years when we played in the 1945 game and defeated Albion 12-6 they had an undefeated season going into the game and we had lost one game to Lancaster. He threw me the winning touchdown pass for the victory. That day there must have been three thousand people watching the game, compared to 300 this year.
Enclosed is my personal check in the amount of —– to help fund the erection of the monument. I also would like to thank you for being chairman of this most important historical remembrance of a group of veterans that stand tall, not only in our community but in the history of the United States to “Valor-Virtue-Courage-Honor-Duty”.
I do not know if I could get a copy of the Company F Roster so I can give it to Sylvester’s family to hand down through the generations of his kin, but I would sure appreciate it.
Sincerely, Raymond M. Smith (Kujawa), Tonawanda, NY”