Veterans monument work gets underway

Benjamin Joe/contributorVFW members stand in Academy Park for the groundbreaking of the Veterans Memorial Monument including Assemblymember Angelo Morinello, 3rd from right.

VILLAGE OF LEWISTON — Members of the Lewiston VFW Downriver Post 7487 gathered with town, village and state officials to commemorate the ground-breaking of the Veterans’ Memorial Monument in Academy Park of the Village of Lewiston. 

The project to update the monument hit a snag earlier in the month when it was discovered that it was directly above some utility lines. However, the problem was quickly fixed and the monument stands to be moved closer to Center Street at the corner of the park.

“We’re not done yet, we have some more money to raise and we’re very confident that we can do it and it’s going to be beautiful for our veterans, the veterans of Lewiston,” William Justyk, commander of the Lewiston VFW said. “When it’s done, we want to invite all the people out there for November, Veterans Day.”

Officials attending the groundbreaking included Village Trustees Vic Eydt and Claudia Marasco as well as Mayor Anne Welch. From the town there was Councilmembers Bill Geiben and Rob Morreale and Supervisor Steve Broderick. Assemblymember for the 145th District and a veteran himself, Angelo Morinello was also present.

“As a member of the VFW and a Vietnam Veteran, it’s long overdue,” Morinello said of the plans for a new monument. “I’m excited to have the chance to thank and honor those who risked all to preserve our freedoms.” 

Justyk called over VFW member and a chief fundraiser for the project, Vince Canosa as he began his list of people and organization to thank.

“We want to thank the supervisor and the Board of the Town of Lewiston, and the Village of Lewiston, Mayor and their Board for continuous service to make this happen,” Justyk said between photo-ops. “And I want to thank Lee Simonson for stepping to the plate for the veterans of Lewiston to help us complete this project. It was a big project and he did a lot of work to make this come through.”

Other big donors included WTS, Anthony DiMino of DiMino Tops, Maid of the Mist and the Williams Foundation.

“Did we think we would ever put this together in such a short period of time? No,” Justyk said referring to the one year it had taken for the project to get so far. “We want to thank our sponsors.”

Smaller businesses were also generous for their size. Canosa counted off the Spicey Pickle, Deal Realty and Favorites Pizza as a few. Other donations came from the families of veterans who wanted a name on the monument.

“There’s a lot of people we have to thank,” Justyk said. “And for Veterans Day we want to invite the people out to come and see this beautiful ceremony that’s going to happen, under the lights, at night. It’s going to be wonderful.”