MCKEES ROCKS (KDKA) – In McKees Rocks, veterans were up early Wednesday morning trying for the second time to save a memorial from the early 40’s.
It’s tucked out of sight and out of mind at the old McKees Rocks High School. On this Veterans Day, the memorial is being rescued.
“It may just be a piece of stone, but it’s a memorial. It’s in honor of these brothers and sisters who have fallen,” Army Veteran Gary Dunworth said.
Vietnam veteran Jim Lauria made it his mission to ensure that it is not just a piece of stone. He’s now the interim police chief in McKees Rocks.
When he found the old memorial, and saw that it has been vandalized, he vowed to do something about it.
“When you go by a monument — if it’s overgrown, if the names are falling off, I know these guys deal with it every day. They see it all the time. And you can only do so much by yourself so you kind of get everybody involved in it,” Lauria said.
Pittsburgh Technical Institute told the chief if he can get the monument to them, they will refurbish it for free.
Local businesses jumped at the chance to help extract it from the rebar re-enforced stone wall.
“It sounds really great. We are going to take this thing out and then you look at it and you go, “Oh my!” We need somebody who knows what they are doing so Harry Spadafora jumped in and said, ‘I’ll do that.’ Chuco’s across the street gave us the equipment, and it’s kind of taken off on its own,” Lauria said.
When other area veterans heard about the project, they lined up to help because they refuse to forget their brothers and sisters.
“I never deployed. I never served overseas. I did three years here at CONUS, but I have a lot of friends that did deploy. I have a handful that died, and I have a handful that got hurt, and their lives will never be the same again,” Dunworth said.