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Veterans memorial to be unveiled in Seward

| Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
Peter Turcik | for the Ligonier Echo
Sandy Mitchell, Pat Henning and Fran Hajjar stand on the base of the new Seward Veterans Memorial, which will be placed and dedicated Monday. This photo was taken by Peter Turcik on Aug 16, 2013 at Seward Memorial Park

Seward Council will conduct a ceremony dedicating a new stone memorial honoring local veterans at 10 a.m. Monday at Seward Memorial Park, on Indiana Street.

The monument will show the engraved seals from all six branches of the U.S. military, and will also display the messages “Freedom Isn't Free” and “God Bless America.”

The morning's observance will include speakers Jordan Frei, from the office of state Rep. Mike Reese, and Westmoreland County Commissioner Charles Anderson. The Honor Guard from VFW Post 7622 in New Florence will also perform military rituals.

Resident Eugene Huey introduced the idea for the memorial to council last year, according to borough council member Fran Hajjar, and a committee was formed to raise the necessary funds to place the monument. Hajjar added that funds for the project came almost entirely from organizations and residents within Seward.

“We are just happy that we were able to raise the money,” said Hajjar. “We are thankful and pleased with the people's response. We care about our town very much.”

This committee was made up of Huey and Hajjar, as well as Police Chief Robert Malnofsky Jr., Sandra Mitchell and Patricia Hemming.

When council learned about Huey's idea, Mitchell said members and local residents were excited to undertake the project.

“We want to recognize the contribution of these people,” committee member Sandy Mitchell stated. “We know that people have sacrificed their lives. That is our goal; to bring honor and the glory that comes to people who are willing to lay their lives on the line. We're not heroes. They are. That is really the essence of what we are trying to do. We want to bring honor to our servicemen, living and gone.”

The goal for the memorial was set at $8,700 for the stone monument itself. Malnofsky built the foundation and laid the base for the memorial himself to help keep costs low. Hajjar said the council advertised the project to local residents, asking for small donations. She said the VFW of New Florence started the ball rolling by giving a significant portion of the required total, which encouraged other smaller donations.

Today all the funds have been raised and the stone will be fully paid for upon delivery on Saturday. Additionally, Hajjar believes that this campaign has brought together both Seward Borough and Seward Township into one single entity.

“This project unified us, in that there are so many people who are willing to give,” Hajjar commented. “We are one in a sense that we wanted to get this done for our town.”

“We're not here to get praise or anything. We enjoy doing what we do for the community,” Mitchell added. “It's going to be a beautiful monument. It's going to say at the bottom ‘God Bless America.' God is an important part of our lives and our community's life. To praise our veterans and to praise God, that is our message.”

Refreshments will be served after the Labor Day service.

Peter Turcik is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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