November groundbreaking targeted for Veterans Honor Park

By on March 31, 2017
Park fundraisers Dave Kramer and Cindi Todd (center) accept a $5,000 installment from the Lititz American Legion. Legionnaires present for the occasion are (left to right) Richard Little, David Little, Leroy Emmerich, Russ Hogg, Carl Steffy, Rodney May, and Barry West.

Park fundraisers Dave Kramer and Cindi Todd (center) accept a $5,000 installment from the Lititz American Legion. Legionnaires present for the occasion are (left to right) Richard Little, David Little, Leroy Emmerich, Russ Hogg, Carl Steffy, Rodney May, and Barry West.

When organizers planned for the Veterans Honor Park of Lancaster County several years ago, they decided they needed to raise at least $300,000 to get started.

With a generous donation from the Lititz American Legion Post 56 of $25,000, the Veterans Park is at that threshold and organizer C. David Kramer hopes that groundbreaking for the park will get underway in November.

The first downpayment on the Lititz American Legion’s donation was made at the district dinner Feb. 24, when they presented $5,000. Four more installments of $5,000 each have been pledged over five years.

“That’s very exciting news for the Veterans Park. We have been getting support from the community and we hope to get even more,” said Kramer.

Kramer said while the Veterans Honor Park of Lancaster County may be located in Lititz, it is a park to honor all veterans of Lancaster County. As a county-wide park, it will rely on support from all veterans, families and friends throughout the county.

The Veterans Honor Park of Lancaster County is a cooperative venture with the Lititz Public Library and Warwick Township and will serve as a permanent tribute to every generation of Lancaster County warriors in every branch of the United States military, including the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard and Merchant Marines.

Partners in the Veterans Honor Park project include (left to right) Library Director Susan Tennant, Fundraising Coordinator Dave Kramer, and Township Manager Dan Zimmerman.

Partners in the Veterans Honor Park project include (left to right) Library Director Susan Tennant, Fundraising Coordinator Dave Kramer, and Township Manager Dan Zimmerman.

“We expect that nearly every family in Lancaster County has at least one or more veterans. This is a park to honor all of them,” says Kramer, pointing out that there are currently more than 33,000 living veterans listed in Lancaster County.

That doesn’t even include the spouses, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, cousins, aunt, uncles, nieces, nephews and grandparents of veterans.

Kramer is Marine Corps veteran who served in Vietnam. His son, Chase, was with the Navy and Navy Reserves, among the last to leave Iraq. His daughter, Carrie, is a nine-year Air Force veteran and his grandson, Branson, serves with the U.S. Coast Guard.

“That’s part of the reason why this park is so close to my heart,” says Kramer.

The new liaison officer with Lancaster County veteran service organizations is Cindi Todd, who is the daughter of a U.S. Army Korean War vet and a consultant with Intellitec Solutions.

“It will be my challenge to gain support for the Veterans Honor Park to the members and leadership of American Legions, VFWs, Amvets, and other organizations to inform and secure funding for the Veterans Park,” says Todd.

One of the newest donors is Worley & Obetz, a family-owned total energy and home comfort company serving Central Pennsylvania since 1946 in Manheim. As a sequel to its Veterans Discount Program, Worley & Obetz has introduced its “Round Up Program,” encouraging customers to “round up” their payments to a higher round number, with the dollar difference going straight to the Veterans Honor Park of Lancaster County.

Another donation came in as a birthday gift when Sam Lombardo, CEO of Lancaster’s Benecon Group, was honored by co-workers with a contribution to the Veterans Honor Park.

“Eileen McCarry and her daughter, Reeny Morell, have been especially generous with the Brick Memorial paver program, donating six of these, all in honor of her family’s WWII veterans,” says Kramer, adding that other contributors include the “Smith Kids,” who annually commemorate WWII veteran George Smith, Carolyn and Russ Weidman, Marcia and Larry Lefever, Jan and Gary Bailey, By and Donna Smith. Lyn Loy, Ted Smith and Christopher Zell, to name a few.

Community and business supporters in the Lititz and Warwick area include Beers and Hoffman Architects, Clair Global, Derck & Edson, Diehm and Sons, EHD Advisors, ELA, Glick’s Autobody, Kuntz, Lesher LLP, Listrak, Lititz Rec Center, Lititz Rotary Club, Lititz Springs Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1463, Pelger Engineering and Construction, Ritter Poultry, Rock Lititz, SECHAN Electronics, Inc., Tracy Appraisal Services, Inc., Venture Lititz, Warwick Township, Wavelength Marketing and Zimmerman, Pfanebecker & Nuffort, Esq.

One of the most important donations of all was the donation of the land by Wayne Seigrist, who provided nearly 2½ acres for the park in Warwick Township. Seigrist wanted to honor his father, a World War II veteran who was part of the D-Day invasion.

Initially, it was hoped that the park could open in November of 2016, but organizers were waiting to raise the money needed for the county-wide park. The original plan has been scaled down somewhat, and is expected to feature an honor court, reflection garden, peace plaza and entry area. The final design is still in the works.

“We are pleased that the Veterans Honor Park will be located in Warwick Township. Of course, this park is for all Lancaster County veterans,” says Warwick Township Manager Daniel Zimmerman, whose father was a World War II veteran and his older brothers served in Vietnam.

Library Director Susan Tennant agrees. The library was also built on property provided by Seigrist, with the library to honor his mother and the adjacent veterans park to honor his father.

“This will be a wonderful addition to this area,” says Tennant, who is the daughter of a World War II Navy veteran. “I think just about everyone in Lancaster County has a connection to a veteran and this will be a meaningful tribute.”

The Veterans Honor Park of Lancaster County has earned the endorsement of the County’s United States Congressional Delegation and the former Pennsylvania Governor and United States Department of Homeland Security Secretary, Tom Ridge.

For information on donating to the Veterans Honor Park, check the website at vetshonirparklanco.org or contact Cindi Todd at cinditodd@outlook.com.

 

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