It is the culmination of years of discussion and planning, months of hard work and generosity of every sort.
You could see the pride and satisfaction on the face of Ed Sokoloski, the chairman of the committee that successfully placed a veterans memorial in front of the Scott Township building on Montdale Road. What had begun as a “hey, I wonder if it would be possible...” kind of conversation years ago with his cohort Stanley Stracham had come to fruition. Hundreds of residents and veterans from around the area turned out for the unveiling and dedication last weekend.
“This project was a community effort,” Sokoloski told the crowd. “There was a tremendous outpouring of community support. It was literally the talk of the town.”
Sokoloski was also quick to point out that it was a community-funded effort, accomplished “without a single dollar of tax payer money — with the exception of a couple of buckets of gravel we swiped from the township.”
Veterans group from around the mid- and up-valley attended — and, in some cases, took part in — the ceremony, including William J. Griffith American Legion Post No. 465 and Shopa-Davey Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 6082. Also in attendance were state Sen. John Blake, state Rep. Sid Michaels Kavulich and Lackawanna County Commissioner Patrick O’Malley.
Sokoloski took a few minutes to single out veterans, and relatives or descendants of veterans, from just about every war and conflict dating back to the Revolutionary War. There were few dry eyes as veteran Michael Sheruda and Dennis Davison presented “The POW Pledge.”
This was followed by comments from Hon. Thomas J. Munley, president judge of the Lackawanna Court of Common Pleas. Munley reminded all those present that “we’re here and able to do the these things, because of the sacrifices they made.”
The United States Naval Academy Silent Drill Team performed (and Sokoloski noted that their appearance was anything but assured only a few weeks ago during the partial shutdown of the U.S. government), as did bagpipers Alex and Evan Burlew.
Sokoloski also thanked the family members of veterans, noting that the monument is “really more about our families’ faith, prayers, sacrifices and support that got us through whatever we experienced.”
Sokoloski stressed that the monument was “built for expansion” and that more memorial bricks and other features will be added in the coming months. If you would like to purchase a memorial brick, call 570-587-3120.