UVO dedicates Lehighton Veterans Memorial Park
Lehighton’s United Veterans Organization assembled to officially dedicate the Lehighton Veterans Memorial Park on Saturday afternoon.
The park, located on the tract of land between Sgt. Stanley Hoffman Boulevard and Lehigh Drive, hosts a number of monuments to the military, including several recent installations which were also dedicated during the ceremony.
Lehighton UVO Commander Kevin M. “Spike” Long welcomed the crowd to the event before the raising of the flag, the national anthem, and an invocation by chaplain John Stefanik.
Mayor Thomas Mase and borough manager Nicole Beckett offered opening remarks, thanking service members for their sacrifices and dedication to upholding the values and freedoms of America.
“As a veteran myself, I’m always glad to see the amount of people here to honor our veterans,” Mase said. “I always feel proud to be the mayor of Lehighton, where the citizens come out to honor their veterans, their country, and their flag. God bless Lehighton, and God bless the United States of America.”
Beckett, speaking on behalf of the Borough Council, thanked the veterans organizations for their work in dedicating the park. The UVO had petitioned the Borough Council to name the park in late March, and the Council voted in favor of the motion.
“Dedicating the park and all of the work of our local veterans is an honor,” she said. “We are proud of all of the accomplishments of the UVO, and we truly appreciate their community pride. It is important to recognize those who serve more than once a year, and this new park commemorates that every day of the year.”
Rep. Doyle Heffley commented on the nature of Carbon County’s citizens and their remarkable passion for service, and thanked all those who played a part in the park’s dedication.
“Carbon County has a very rich history of service to this country, dating back to the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. We had one of the highest per capita volunteer rates in Carbon County. In that tradition, I want to thank the Lehighton Borough, the Lehighton UVO, and everybody for coming out today as we recognize Veterans Day and dedicate this park,” Heffley said.
Long took the stage again in order to officially conduct the dedication of the park.
“We are forever grateful to Lehighton Borough for their consideration in unanimously voting in favor of naming this park, as well as their continued support for veterans. At this time, may this area of land between Sgt. Stanley Hoffman Blvd. and Lehigh Drive, will forever be known as Lehighton Veterans Memorial Park,” he said.
The park, which already plays host to the Sgt. Stanley Hoffman memorial, as well as the War at Home memorial featuring a metal silhouette of SPC Michael Wargo, now houses several other monuments to servicemen and women.
A World War I commemorative stone was dedicated in remembrance of the 100 years since the war, and the military men and women from Lehighton who fought for the nation. The UVO members purchased the monument, which sits near the base of the Sgt. Stanley Hoffman memorial.
A large anchor, honoring the waterborne servicemen and women of the Navy, Marine Corp, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marines, was dedicated as well. UVO Vice Commander David Bryfogle obtained the anchor as a donation from Wallace Putkowski.
Lastly, set of flags and poles honoring each branch of the military — Army, Marine Corp, Navy, Coast Guard, and Air Force, along with a POW/MIA flag — were hoisted to the tune of each respective branch’s song. Oriole’s Nest #183 provided funding for the purchase of the flags and poles.
Chaplain Carl Haydt provided a benediction, followed by a rifle volley to honor the dead by Sgt. at Arms Glenn “Smokey” Troutman and the Lehighton UVO Honor Guard. TAPS was conducted by UVO bugler Henry J. Long, Sr.
“I think this is very dramatic. I’m very impressed with the lineup of flags and all the monuments that are here,” Scott Reinhart, Carbon County Navy Club Ship 260 member, said as he looked upon the waterborne memorial plaque sitting in front of the Navy flag.
“People need a gentle reminder of the people that have served, and who are serving,” he said, looking around the newly dedicated park. “This fills that bill; they see the monuments, and they understand that there are many, many, many men and women that have gone before them and served the country.”