Refurbished veterans memorial plaque makes it back in time for Chana’s 150th birthday bash

CHANA — Waiting for the rededication of Chana’s WWI veterans memorial was well worth the wait for the McCauley family last Saturday.

A couple hundred people waited through the rain and walked from the village’s downtown to watch the rededication of the refurbished plaque and new stone, now all neatly arranged on the road that curves past the Pine Rock Township Building.

Roberta McCauley, flanked by her daughter two granddaughters, took an extra moment after the ceremony to acknowledge one of the names on the brass plaque — her grandfather John Paul Bennett.

“He was a sergeant during WWI,” said Roberta pointing to his name. “I don’t know much about his service, but this is really wonderful.”

Wonderful was exactly how Dale Flanagan, a member of the Pine Rock Township Board, felt when everything arrived in town just days before the dedication was scheduled.

“We didn’t think we were going to get it here in time,” he said. But the good Lord was on our side and it all came Wednesday (June 8).”

Flanagan said the restoration, and relocation effort has been ongoing for a few years.

“Several years ago, as a citizen, I was asked to fix the monument when it was located down the street. I’m a concrete guy so we looked at it and it was in pretty bad disrepair,” he said.

Flanagan said rather than pour new concrete at the old location, a decision was made to refurbish the plaque and move it down a couple of blocks west onto public property.

“We thought it might be better to put it up on public Pine Rock Township property,” he said. “We were concerned where it was before because it really wasn’t on public property.”

The brass plaque was then sent away to be refurbished. “The guy that restored it actually left the dings and dents in it because they tell a story. It has its own history. And I’ve talked to a few of the people who put a few of those dents in it,” he said chuckling.

The plaque was remounted on a new granite stone on concrete poured by Flanagan and his brothers. The entire project was funded by donations and Township funds.

“Some people gave us some deals on getting it restored,” he said. “It’s paid for, but we’re always looking for some people to help.”

Anyone interested in donation to the project can contact Pine Rock Township or Flanagan.

The new memorial will stand as a tribute to all veterans who have served, Flanagan said.

Earleen Hinton

Earleen oversees production and content of 9 community weeklies and has worked for Shaw Newspapers since 1985.