Dedication ceremony is over, but fundraising continues

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By Melanie Lekocevic

Capital Region Independent Media

The ceremony dedicating the monument in honor of the county’s slain Vietnam War veterans is over, but the group is still fundraising to cover the costs of the massive project. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media

GREENVILLE — The solemn dedication ceremony honoring Greene County’s slain Vietnam troops may be over, but fundraising to pay for the memorial site continues.

The Northeast USA Vietnam Veterans Reunion Memorial Fund dedicated the granite monument, flagpole and Bronze Battlefield Cross on Sept. 17, at Veterans Park.

While the memorial service for the 17 Greene County residents who went off to war and never returned home is over, the group continues to fundraise to pay for the massive project.

The memorial and flagpole came at a hefty price — $102,723. The group had so far raised about $60,000, and still needs to come up with another $50,000.

The purchase and installation of the memorial was made possible through a loan from a donor, but the group wants to pay off that loan as soon as they can, said Judge Bernard Malone, president of the Northeast USA Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.

He declined to identify the donor, saying they want to remain anonymous.

The group has been raising funds for more than a year, and has received support from local groups, including the Greenville Rotary, which held a fundraiser “Roaring ‘20s” party the day before the memorial service, with all proceeds going to the memorial fund.

But there is a great deal of fundraising left to do.

“We are still behind,” organizer Tim Broder said of fundraising efforts prior to the ceremony.

Broder is a Vietnam veteran who served in the U.S. Navy SeaBees and was the memorial service’s master of ceremonies Sept. 17.

Anyone looking to donate to the memorial can send a check made out to Northeast USA Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund to P.O. Box 326, Freehold, NY 12431.

The memorial is dedicated to the memory of 17 county residents who died in the Vietnam War. Each of their names is engraved on a black granite memorial that is the centerpiece of the site.

The slain troops whose names are etched into the monument are: Paul Edward Albano, William Michael Bagshaw, John Irwin Cameron, Norman Wilbur Clearwater, Eugene Jerome Curless, Jr., John Francis Dedek, William John Dolan, Ronald Francis Hock, Arnold Melvin Hull, Paul Lewis, James Ronald Oakley, Tunis E. Rappleyea, Jr., Michael Joseph Rowcroft, Robert Bruce Schampier, Mark Vedder Schmidt, Harry Joseph Sickler and John Donald Wyszomirski.

It may be 50 years since the Vietnam War was waged on the battlefield half a globe away, but the names of the fallen remain alive in local memories.

Local Boy Scouts raise the ceremonial flag onto the new 80-foot flagpole during the Sept. 17 dedication service. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media
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