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Memorial plaque honoring WWI soldiers discovered, rededicated

BY: Jennifer Lysiak, Lancaster Editor | November 06, 2013

LANCASTER/DEPEW- After more than 30 years of being kept in the basement of the Lancaster Historical Society, a WWI memorial bronze plaque has a new home in Veteran’s Park, located on Lake Avenue, in the Village of Lancaster.

The plaque once hung at the Lancaster American Legion Washington Post 287 on Legion Drive in the Village of Lancaster, but after the post closed in the mid-1980s, the plaque was handed over to the Lancaster Historical Society where it remained in storage until early this year.

American Legion Depew Post 1528 Commander Jacob E. Schu said he was asked to take a look at some old military plaques by the historical society and discovered the plaque bore the American Legion logo. After further review the plaque was traced back to former Post 287.

This started a project for the Depew post to restore the memorial, which began in April and was completed about a month ago.

“This plaque has all the names of those that made the ultimate sacrifice in WWI,” said Schu.

The plaque commemorates the lives of 26 men. They are: Orlo J. Adolf, Elmer W. Brass, Alfred Beels, A. Riley Brown, Frank J. Kaczmarek, John Cziak, Fred Finck, Anthony Fiore, Stephan Garus, Florence Gorecki, Walter A. Hake, Carl W. Helman, Henry Hodge, Charles W. Howell, Michael Janecko, James W. Kirkpatrick, Stanislaus Kozak, William Lowery, John Morobito, Harry G. Robinson, Samuel Santa Maria, Oscar W. Scheifla, William J. Stabell, Raymond Strite, Edward Szyperski, and Frank J. Wielkiewicz.

With the help of many people, including members of the memorial committee, the Lancaster Historical Society, Lancaster Village Mayor Paul Maute, Lancaster Department of Public Works (DPW) Superintendent William Cansdale, Joe Brunet, VFW and Post 1528 member; and DPW workers John Burke, Joe Dennis, Bill Huff, and Joe Marino the plaque can now be seen by all.

The plaque is attached to a 3,300 to 3,500 pound stone, which was donated by Joe Laraiso of Buffalo Crushed Stone, and sits on a concrete pad.

Schu added they wanted to locate the plaque at the Lancaster park, even though they are a Depew post, because it came from the Lancaster Washington Post and it will remain there to honor those in the community who fought and died in WWI.

This past Saturday the post held a rededication of the WWI memorial plaque at Veteran’s Park where American Legion members, local, and state officials came to honor these men.

New York State Sen. Patrick Gallivan said he was thrilled to be a part of the rededication and added he will “always be grateful to our veterans.”

Lancaster Town Supervisor Dino Fudoli was also at the rededication and thanked all those involved in the project and added it’s also important to reflect on those who are currently fighting overseas to protect the freedoms we have now.

Lancaster Village Mayor Paul Maute also spoke at the rededication saying, “We are here today to rededicate a plaque to the men of our community who sacrificed themselves so that we have freedom and a way of life that we enjoy so much. We now have a place where we can go and remember our best and great.”

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