FOLLANSBEE - Organizers behind the fountain monument at Follansbee Park honoring all veterans are inviting veterans to attend and be recognized at its dedication on Thursday.
Tony Paesano, president of the Follansbee Chamber of Commerce and mayor emeritus, said veterans may complete a card briefly stating their military service and submit it to Toni Shute, his daughter and principal of Brooke High School, shortly before the program starts at 5:30 p.m.
Paeano said a bell will be rung for all who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country in conflicts dating from World War I to the present.
Two Follansbee natives, Emrys Watkins and Salvatore Stillitano, were killed while serving in France in World War I.
Sandy Perito, mother of Joey Perito, who was killed while serving in Vietnam, will place a wreath at the site on behalf of Gold Star Mothers. A monument honoring Perito was established near the park's Mark Avenue entrance by former classmates in 2008.
Paesano said attorney Robert Gaudio, chairman of the Upper Ohio Valley Italian Festival and a Follansbee native, will be the guest speaker.
Also participating are Monsignor John Hudok of St. Anthony Catholic Church; Marla Mercer, who will perform patriotic music; the Tri-State Young Marines led by Gabe Arlia; Mayor David Velegol Jr.; Ohio Valley Veterans Memorial Squad; Joe Cuomo, pastor of the Christian Assembly Church; and the 20th Century Club.
The fountain monument was built through the efforts of the chamber; the 20th Century Club, which is a chapter of the General Federation of Woman's Clubs-West Virginia; support of Follansbee Council; and many local businesses.
Built by Professional Lawn and Landscape of Follansbee, it consists of a 5-foot urn comprised of stacked stone, surrounded by a 2-foot high circle of estate stone with a pump that recirculates water from the base to the urn.
Paesano said Professional Lawn and Landscape of Follansbee donated the wood chips and flowers that circle the monument, and Sheriden Buffington, owner of Express Signs of Follansbee, donated the sign.
He added Eric Fithyan, owner of Chambers and James Funeral Homes, is donating a stone marker bearing the insignias of the military branches and an inscription recognizing veterans for their service.
"It will be dedicated in memory of veterans from Follansbee who served in all wars and those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom," Paesano said.
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