The Vietnam Veterans of America is pursuing a grant to help pay for improvements and repairs to the Vietnam Memorial next to the Medina County Veterans Services Office, 210 Northland Drive, Medina. BOB FINNAN / GAZETTE
Vietnam Veterans of America, Medina, Chapter 385, hopes to secure a state grant to help pay for repairs and improvements to the Vietnam Memorial on Northland Drive in Medina.
“We’re doing the best we can to maintain it,” Rick Pethtel, president of the Medina chapter, told Medina County commissioners this week.
“Back then, we were young and strong. Now we’re in our 70s. It’s getting to the point where it’s difficult to get down on our knees and plant flowers.”
The area around the memorial, dedicated in 1989, has “come upon some hard times,” he said.
“We’re going to tear up the paver bricks,” Pethtel said. “Everything will be affected except the memorial itself. That will never be touched. We’ll take all the sand out and get down to a hard, dirt base.
“We want to put in a concrete pad, replace the dirt and put in the paver bricks. Everything will be flat, even and level.
“It’s a lot of work.”
The plan is to ask for a $75,000 state grant toward the $100,000 project, Pethtel said. Veterans plan on finding corporate partners to cover the remaining cost.
“It means a lot to us,” Pethtel told commissioners Tuesday. “This is our last big hurrah, so to speak.”
Thirty-three Medina County residents were killed in Vietnam. Their names are on the monument, which represents all branches of the U.S. military.
Pethtel said he’s enlisted the support of state Rep. Steve Hambley, R-Brunswick, Senate President Larry Obhof, R-Montville Township, former Ohio Speaker of the House Bill Batchelder and county Commissioner Adam Friedrick for the project.
Commissioners also plan to write a letter saying they support the memorial improvements.
“What we want to do is take care of all this,” Pethtel said. “The only way we’re able to do this, for the amount of money it’s going to cost us, is to apply for this grant.”
Ed Zackery, director of the Medina County Veterans Service Office, located next to the memorial, said his office would maintain the memorial following renovations.
“We want people to know about us,” Pethtel said. “We’ve had people come up here and say, ‘I didn’t know this was here.’ We want it to be recognized.
“We want it to stay forever after we’re gone.”
A street sign for the Vietnam Memorial that normally is at the intersection of North Court Street and Northland Drive temporarily has been removed to accommodate the Court Street/U.S. Route 42 street construction project under way.
Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or firstname.lastname@example.org.