By Emily Fedor
One of the goals of the Community Re-Invest Program is to rehabilitate and upgrade outdoor recreational facilities—the main focus of an upcoming project to hit the Dunmore area.
Lackawanna County Commissioners presented a $14,000 Community Re-Invest check to the Friends of the Forgotten Inc. Northeast Wing, an organization that creates public awareness of the Prisoners of War/Missing in Action issue. The money received will cover the final costs of the group’s $40,750 renovation project—that includes creating a Korean War memorial—at the Dunmore tank located at the intersection of South Blakely and Cherry Street.
Many organizations, including the Friends of the Forgotten, fill out the request form located on the county’s website to receive a Re-Invest check from Lackawanna County. But George Kelly, director of economic development in Lackawanna County, said that the commissioners generally grant checks to those organizations that have already gone through the process of hosting chicken barbecues and other fundraising events on their own. Once a group exhausts those options, the county will be more willing to offer financial assistance that will cover most of, if not the rest of the cost of the project.
“We’re fans of funding tangible brick and mortar projects that will leave legacies in the county because that’s what this program is really all about—lasting legacies in Lackawanna County,” said Kelly.
Mary Dee Faatz, chairperson of the Korean War Memorial project and events coordinator and secretary of the Northeast Wing of Friends of the Forgotten, said that the Friends approached Louis Arnone, the World War II veteran of Dunmore who initially worked to secure the Vietnam war-era tank for the borough in 1999, after they originally came up with the idea. They gained his approval to build their memorial next to the World War II memorial that currently exists alongside the tank in Dunmore. Then they began fundraising efforts in October of last year to fund the endeavor.
“We wanted to start the project because we felt the Korean War was a forgotten war,” said Faatz. “We wanted to honor the casualties from Lackawanna County.”
On Tuesday, May 27, the Friends finally began building the Korean War memorial. The monument honors the lives of the 71 casualties of the Korean War who called Lackawanna County their home. That list of names features those of four Dunmore men: Joseph Santasiero, Angelo Vincent Gruttadauria, Charles Henry Shoe and Edward Uguccione.
The Friends of the Forgotten held a ceremony on Saturday, May 30 to dedicate the new memorial to those war casualties from the county that inspired the construction of the monument.
This project is one of many the group is working on at the present time, and they still have plans to install new flag poles and landscape the site.