Thanks to a generous gift by Lockheed Martin’s Archbald Operations, a monument to area veterans is a step closer to reality.
The company donated a 2-acre parcel of land along Kennedy Drive to the Borough of Archbald, where borough officials plan to build a veterans monument park. The project will be led by the Archbald Borough Veterans Memorial Park Committee, a nonprofit organization established specifically for this initiative.
“This committee is passionate about memorializing our U.S. Armed Forces’ men and women and their service to this country, and we appreciate Lockheed Martin for sharing these same values,” said Rob Turlip, chairman of the committee. “Thanks to the donation, the Archbald community will have a permanent place to show respect to our country’s veterans.”
The park is intended to honor all those who have served in the U.S. forces and especially those who are from or who have resided in the Archbald area.
“Our company has been built on supporting this country’s service members,” said Pete Rosecrans, site director at Archbald Operations. “We at Archbald Operations are also committed to supporting this community, and providing a home for this project was an ideal way to contribute.”
Recently, Archbald Mayor Shirley Barrett presented a check in the amount of $4,111.30 to the committee to help fund the project. This is the first monetary donation for the park. The funds are proceeds from the Archbald Borough 5K run/walk.
The committee intends to develop a monument park that consists of a decommissioned military aircraft, markers, flag poles and more. The project is anticipated to be completed in the next three years.
The committee, composed of four veterans groups, envisions the park hosting decommissioned military equipment — perhaps a helicopter — along with a memorial listing borough residents who died in the line of duty.
Turlip, a retired U.S. Army major, hopes the inert weaponry to be displayed will be unique in a county that hosts a number of tanks, artillery pieces and even an anchor from an aircraft carrier. The ideal helicopter would be a Black Hawk, but not many of them have been decommissioned, Turlip said.
“We’re going to make submission to (the U.S. Department of Defense) and see what they have,” Turlip added.
Lockheed Martin’s 350,000-square-foot facility has operated in Archbald since 1951 and employs about 500 people, said Mark Schaub, a spokesman for the defense contractor.
The company provides design, manufacturing, engineering, field service and support to its precision-guided systems and nuclear systems at Archbald.
“Our company has been built on supporting this country’s service members,” said Rosecrans.
The committee has an architect and contractor developing a budget for the project and plans to pursue grants and fundraisers to make it a reality.
“We have a lot of veterans that we like to support,” borough council president Maria Tomassoni said.
The Times-Tribune contributed to this report.