Officials dedicate eagle statue at Veteran’s Memorial Park

Some of the people who were instrumental in the carved eagle display at the Veteran’s Memorial Park are (from left) Terry Hayes who installed the glass, Gary Ruhland who installed the lighting, Keith Simonette who purchased the protective glass, Mark Richeter who carved the figure, and Ron Pexa of R & R Metalworks donating their labor to build the metal casing. (Wade Young Photo)
 
In the short time since Montgomery’s Veteran’s Memorial Park was created in 2011, many displays, features and symbols have been erected to decorate and honor area veterans.
 
The park received another monument, in the form of a giant wooden American Eagle at a dedication ceremony on Monday, Nov. 11, in honor of Veteran’s Day.
 
The creation was hand-crafted by handyman Mark Richter of Kilkenny, who has also creates art pieces out of wood. He said he carved the eagle out of maple, and finished in 2000. It was only now that it found a permenent home at the park, located on Boulevard Avenue.
 
“I was just waiting for someplace for it to go,” Richter said. “It was meant to be (here).”
 
He can’t comment how long it took him to carve and paint the eagle, only that when it’s a passion, time doesn’t matter. He also called the park’s addition a nice memorial to SSG. Eric Thomas Gregor, 31, of Montgomery, who died October 30, and to all of the area veterans.
 
“I got to know him while hanging the veteran’s photos,” Richter said. 
 
Mayor Jean Keogh was also at the dedication, She thanked everyone who had a hand in the momument’s creation, incluing the local businesses who helped create the glass box that protects it with one-quarter inch thick tempered glass.
 
“Thanks to everyone who had a hand in bringing this symbol of American freedom to this Veteran's Memorial Park so that it can be enjoyed by the many visitors who stop here every day,” Keogh said. “Special thanks to Mark Richter who carved and donated the Eagle; R & R Metal Works for donating their time building this metal structure; Terry Hayes and Tim Zahratka for installing the display case; Keith Simonette for donating the glass, and the American Legion Veterans Park Fund for purchasing the metal.”
 
Keogh called the shining structure another example of the community working and volunteering together to make something great happen for the good of Montgomery.
 
Keeping in time with the holiday, Keogh also thanked area veterans for their service, which has allowed everyone the privilege to enjoy the many freedoms in this Country today.  
 
“May God continue to bless our veterans, their families and those still serving to protect our great country at home and abroad,” Keogh said.