WELLSVILLE - Though it seemed like a rather large undertaking for just two people, George Crews and his daughter, Lynda Crews, took advantage of the recent warm and sunny weather to work on the Wellsville Honor Roll memorial currently under construction on Wells Avenue at state Route 45, just west of the state Route 7 overpass in Wellsville.
The scene was emblematic of the way the project has progressed from the start, according to George Crews. With no sponsoring organization behind the effort, it has been guided by a committee consisting of Crews and Debbie Koffel from Martin-MacLean-Altmeyer Funeral Home. "Pretty good-sized project for just two people," he said.
The final goal for Crews and Koffel is the completion of a new Wellsville Honor Roll, a memorial to all village residents who have served in the U.S. armed forces, from World War I to the current conflict in Afghanistan. It is being constructed as a replacement for Wellsville's original Honor Roll, constructed in 1943, which stood next to the old Wellsville City Hall, current site of the Shoub Towers apartment building on Main Street.
Lynda Crews (foreground) and her father, George Crews (background) were hard at work Tuesday afternoon on the new Wellsville Honor Roll, which is under construction on Wells Avenue at state Route 45, just west of the state Route 7 overpass. (Photo by Richard Sberna)
Crews said the original wall was taken down in the early 1970s when the current Village Hall was built. According to Crews, the panels were stored in the basement of the old Liberty Theater across Main Street, but that they were damaged at some point before they went missing. They have yet to be located.
The effort to get a new Honor Roll memorial constructed began with a spaghetti dinner fundraiser at the Elks Lodge 1040 in Wellsville nearly two years ago. Since then, all the funds for the project have been generated either through fundraisers, such as a quilt raffle held last year, or through donations from local organizations such as the Knights of Columbus, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 359 and American Legion Post 70, plus many donations from private individuals.
The memorial will consist of a three-section wall covered in red brick, 60 feet in total length. Each 20-foot section will hold a pair of 4-foot by 8-foot granite panels inscribed with the names of all from Wellsville who served. Along the top of the brick wall, Crews hopes to place ironwork silhouettes of a battleship, tank, submarine and airplane, mimicking the look of the original Honor Roll. There are also plans for a flagpole to fly an American flag, plus one for each armed forces branch, totaling six in all.
Since the groundbreaking ceremony this past May, a footer has been poured, a cement-block wall was constructed, and the brick work has begun. As with most of the project, Crews says the progress has been made due to generosity. All the cement blocks and bricks were purchased at a discount from D.W. Dickey and Sons in Lisbon, and the granite panels are being inscribed by Steckman Memorials in Calcutta free of charge.
The labor too has been donated free of charge. Crews credits Donald Mays from the International Union Of Bricklayers and Allied Craft Workers Local10 with spreading the word amongst other area trade unions and enlisting their assistance with the project. Other contributing unions include the Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local 8 from Austintown, Laborer's International Union of North America Local 809 from Steubenville, the Painters, Decorators and Paperhangers Local 476 from Youngstown, and Carpenters Local 186 from Steubenville.
Crews said he would like to have the Honor Roll completed by Veterans Day, weather and other factors permitting. "I've lost a lot of sleep over trying to get it done," he said.