Gold Star Family Memorial monument on tap for unveiling in September
The Central Pennsylvania Gold Star Families Memorial monument is expected to be unveiled in Veterans Memorial Park in September, the chairman of the committee bringing the monument to Lycoming County said.
A committee consisting of: Kenneth and Tami Feese and Connie and Bart Howard, of Williamsport, is in the process of specifically overseeing the raising of the funds for the monument, which is expected to cost $75,000.
So far, just short of $42,000 has been raised with additional funding expected from the Lycoming County Commissioners, Feese said.
Former Central Pennsylvania Gold Star Memorial monument committeeman Dennis Norman resigned last month and is no longer affiliated with the committee or The Woody Williams Foundation, the Kentucky-based foundation which helps place these memorials for parents of deceased members of the armed forces killed in action throughout the nation.
The memorial was a team idea brought by five local individuals who wanted to bring the memorial to Lycoming County, Feese said.
Named for Cpl. Hershel W. “Woody” Williams, who used a flame thrower on pill boxes on the Japanese held island of Iwo Jima, Williams is the last remaining Medal of Honor recipient. The foundation assists families throughout the U.S. and is in that process with the local memorial.
The journey to bring the monument to the county began Sept. 11, 2020, when Feese, who chairs the committee, along with his wife, Tami, invited the Howards, whose son Lance Cpl. Abram Howard died while serving in the Marine Corps in Afghanistan in 2010, to a Gold Star Family Memorial unveiling in Lovettsville, Virginia.
“It was the first time we had seen one of these memorials and we were impressed by its healing powers and decided bring one back to central Pennsylvania,” Feese said.
“We came home and decided we were all in,” Feese said, adding he contacted the foundation to begin the process.
“All of it has come from donations,” Feese said. None of it has been from the sale of bricks.
The bricks are sold as a way the Veterans Park Commission can preserve, improve and add to Veterans Memorial Park at Wahoo Drive and West Fourth Street.
These Gold Star Memorial monument donations are directly turned over to the foundation and put into the specific fund for the local memorial, Feese said.
Typically, Gold Star Families Memorial Monuments are a two-sided tribute made of black granite. One side bears the words: Gold Star Families Memorial Monument, a tribute to Gold Star Families and Relatives who sacrificed a Loved One for our Freedom.
The other side tells a story through the four granite panels: Homeland, Family, Patriot, and Sacrifice. At the center of this tribute, is a silhouette of a saluting service member which represents the Legacy of the Loved Ones who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our Freedom. Together, these features tell each community’s unique story based upon the Pillars of the Foundation.