Middleton Township unveiling memorial

NEGLEY- A project started more than three years ago is finally coming to completion in Middleton Township, and just in time for Veteran’s Day.

A public unveiling of the new Veteran’s Memorial is scheduled for 2 p.m. Monday at the site on Richardson Avenue not far from the township road garage.

Township Trustee Eldena Gearhart said the memorial was made possible through money donations from residents and local business owners, people willing to donate items such as flags, and the local Masonic Lodge’s help with fund raising efforts.

The American flag, POW/MIA and Ohio flags will be featured around the black granite stone engraved by Steckman Memorials.

“This is something we have been working on for several years now, to recognize and show our appreciation for our men and women that have served, are serving, and will serve. It’s long past due,” she said.

The project has met with a few snags over the years as far as cost, details, and location.

The original plan was to feature all the names of local veterans’ on the memorial stone, but after researching it became obvious that wouldn’t be possible because of space, she said.

Then, when the township learned how much the memorial would cost the project was put on the back burner because there wasn’t enough money, she added.

Following fund raising efforts like spaghetti dinners, 50/50 raffles and actually standing along the side of the road with buckets for money donations, enough money was raised.

A “Stars and Stripes” donation was also created, in which anybody donating $250 to $499 and $500 and more would have their names featured on the stone.

The 15 names will be listed on the back of the stone, Gearhart said.

The front of the 4-foot-wide, 42-inch-tall stone will feature the emblem of each military service and an inscription written by local Mason Dennis McKenzie.

Gearhart said Paul Lipp and Son poured the 10-by-12-foot concrete pad for the base of the stone and will also be honored on the memorial, and Ohio Power dug the trench.

The stone was originally $7,600 but Steckman Memorials offered it at a discounted price of $6,500, she added.

The unveiling will begin with an invocation by the pastor of Union Ridge Bible Baptist Church followed by speeches from Columbiana County Commissioner Tim Weigle and Dennis McKenzie. The ceremony will close out with a color guard and 21-gun salute by the East Palestine American Legion and refreshments will be served afterward in the township meeting hall.