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Plans for veterans memorial in Archbald marching ahead

Times-Tribune - 1/23/2020

Jan. 23--ARCHBALD -- For siblings Ann Marie Kovaleski and Harold Newberry, seeing their late father's military service memorialized on a sprawling black granite wall will be a sad but proud moment.

The two were among a crowd of about 20 on Wednesday evening who attended an information session at the Valley View High School regarding the upcoming Archbald Borough Veterans Monument Park. Located on just over two acres on Kennedy Drive across from Maria Boulevard, the park will feature a pavilion and a military vehicle on display, but the focal point will be a 400-foot-long, 6-foot-tall semi-circle wall covered in the laser-etched granite tiles bearing the names of 1,600 veterans.

Tiles will include the person's name, rank, branch of service and the era they served in, said Rob Turlip, Archbald Borough Veterans Monument Park Committee chairman and a retired Army major. Veterans don't have to be from the Archbald area, and they can either be living or deceased.

Work is expected to begin on the site in the summer, and construction will take two years, Turlip said.

Turlip originally hoped to begin work in the fall of 2019, but surveying the site took longer than expected, he said. Lockheed Martin is donating the land to the borough, but before the defense contractor could transfer the property, the borough needed to complete the survey, Turlip said. The property should be transferred soon, he said.

The approximately $1.4 million project received a $300,000 Local Share Account grant last year, and the committee raised more than $100,000, Turlip said. Selling the tiles will raise an estimated $130,000, he said.

The committee will begin selling the tiles on April 21, said Clyde Brown, the committee treasurer and a retired Army major. Prices will range from $325 for a simple, text-only tile to $900 for a tile in a prime location with a photo and military emblem. The committee will also offer photo restoration for $50.

Monuments by Parise will create the tiles.

Although Kovaleski, of Greenfield Twp., and Newberry, of Scott Twp., haven't decided exactly what they'll put on their dad's tile, they know they want to include his name, rank, military emblem and the fact that he received a Purple Heart, Kovaleski said. Their father, Harold Newberry, was a private first class in the Army who served in Europe from 1942 to 1945, the two said.

Born and raised in Archbald, their father never talked about the war, but the siblings believe he would be proud to be included on the wall.

"I'm sure he'd be proud knowing that he was being memorialized on a plaque on a wall someplace in the town where he was born," his son said.

To purchase a tile, individuals will need a copy of their loved one's official military records that confirm their honorable service, Brown said. The park committee can help people obtain the paperwork.

The committee will hold a second information session Tuesday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the high school, 1 Columbus Drive.

For more information or to donate to the project, visit archbaldboroughveteransmonumentpark.org or call Turlip at 570-876-1800.

Contact the writer:

flesnefsky@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9100 x5181;

@flesnefskyTT on Twitter

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