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Gold Star Family monument planned for Veterans Memorial Park

A new memorial is expected to be added to Veterans Memorial Park, City Council has learned.

A Central Pennsylvania Gold Star Memorial will be erected in Lycoming County Veterans Memorial Park, Wahoo Drive and West Fourth Street, by the end of September 2021, said John Markley, secretary of the Veterans Memorial Park Commission.

Markley was joined at the council meeting on Thursday by Dennis Norman, a Marine Corps veteran from the Jersey Shore area, in presenting the memorial concept, estimated to cost $75,000 and paid for through donations and a brick marker fundraiser.

The monument, which is to honor the military families whose loved ones have made the ultimate sacrifice in the region, has been warmly received by council.

The city contributes in-kind services, such as when streets and parks department workers assist in maintenance of the park.

The Gold Star Family Memorial was created by Medal of Honor Recipient Hershel “Woody” Williams to remember those families who have made the ultimate sacrifice, Norman said.

Among those on the association working toward getting the memorial to the park by fall next year are Bart and Connie Howard, parents of the late Lance Cpl. Abram Howard, the first Marine from Williamsport killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan, and Kenneth and Tammie Feese, who are assisting with the cause, Norman said.

The cost of park monuments is not borne by the city, Council President Randall J. Allison said.

The commission is preparing to have an A6 Intruder, a decommissioned airplane used in sorties in Vietnam, relocated to the park later this week. The plane previously was used by the Pennsylvania College of Technology aviation students and kept at the Williamsport Regional Airport. The relocation will be done during the evening and early morning hours as to work with state Department of Transportation on traffic congestion concerns, Markley said.

According to Dennis Bennett, a retired Army officer and member of the commission, the airplane will be moved at 9 p.m. Wednesday and continue through early morning, perhaps ending at the park at 3 a.m.

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