By Michael Regan firstname.lastname@example.org
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — North Tonawanda will have yet another monument erected within its borders, which will come at no cost to the city, and add to the municipality’s burgeoning list of military dedications.
Members of the Military Order of the Purple Heart John Paul Bobo Chapter 264 in Wheatfield, contacted City Hall earlier this year to launch the initiative, started through the efforts of a Lumber City resident Terry Partsch, a Vietnam veteran who joined the organization six years ago.
He and the 60 members of the veterans group had been talking about the concept before raising the $5,000 to $6,000 needed to construct the Purple Heart monument, using a template that can be found in similar memorials across the country. It will serve to honor the more than 1.7 million servicemen and woman who have been injured during conflict since World War I.
“I mentioned it at a meeting and it took off from there,” Partsch said.
Ronald Krul, a chapter adjutant and a City of Tonawanda resident, said the idea had been circulating around the ranks of the veterans group for the last three years. After looking at various spots, a consensus was formed that Veterans Park in North Tonawanda, also referred to as Fisherman’s Park, would be an ideal locale due to its central location and the fact that two other veterans’ memorials are already in place there.
Krul said there are numerous veterans organizations but only one has the requirement that its members must be wounded in combat in order to qualify for membership.
“The Purple Heart monuments are all over the country,” Krul said. “There are probably hundreds of Purple Hearts issued to veterans in Western New York and we would like to invite the recipients to join our chapter and also attend the unveiling of our monument, which is scheduled for September. They deserve to be recognized for their service and sacrifice.”
A tour of the park with Mayor Rob Ortt and city engineer Dale Marshall last week led to the decision to construct the four-foot-by-four-foot monument near a footpath adjacent to River Road. A bench will also be put in place while the city may contribute flowers and lighting. The addition of the monument has full approval of the council, according to Ortt.
Construction is expected to begin in August.
Mike Targon, commander of the local chapter and a Vietnam veteran who was wounded in combat said that the mission of the Military Order of the Purple Heart is to foster an environment of goodwill and camaraderie among combat wounded veterans, promote patriotism, support necessary legislative initiatives and provide service to all veterans and their families.
“Our goal as a local chapter has been to gain recognition for all wounded and killed veterans of all wars,” he said. “To that end we have spent the last three years working to erect a Purple Heart Monument in our area, similar to the one which is located at the Servicemen’s and Naval Park in Buffalo. We are pleased to be able to achieve our goal by placing one in the North Tonawanda Veterans Park to provide the well deserved recognition for these veterans.”Contact reporter Michael Regan at 693-1000, ext. 4115.