SLIGO - They had no land and no money, but that didn't deter Sligo Borough residents from building a monument to their veterans.

"The president of the Sligo council came knocking on my back door," said 81-year-old Connie Graham. "She said 'Connie, I got a job for you.' She said get yourself a committee together and start working on it."

That effort led to the veterans banners that hang on utility poles throughout the town. But the committee wasn't done.

"We were sitting around Connie's kitchen table just trying to decide what we wanted to do," said Nancy Shook. "We thought it would be great to have a veterans memorial in Sligo.

"Originally we didn't have this piece of land," Shook said. "The Sligo Corner Restaurant was here for many years but after it burned down it was a vacant lot. The lot was donated to Sligo Borough by Bill and Linda Himes with the provision it would be used for a veterans memorial park," Shook added.

The committee now had a place for the park but no money to build it.

"We didn't have any money," said Graham. "There aren't any businesses in town any more so we went after donations."

Donations began to come in. The reunion association from the old Sligo High School disbanded and gave half its funds to the committee.

They contacted various Veterans of Foreign Wars posts and received donations from New Bethlehem, Oil City, Mount Jewett, Marienville, Parker, Ford City, Rimersburg and as far away as Butler and Bradford. The American Legion Auxiliary in Knox chipped in.

"We had donations from private donors and people who gave their time," said Shook. "Rick and Ron Smearker helped with the engineering."

"We tried to keep it plain and not frivolous," said Anna Marie Laughlin.

In all, the committee raised about $6,600.

Other companies such as Heeter Lumber donated material. The Clarion Garden Club donated $290 for the landscaping of the park.

Logue and Son Cemetery Memorials in Sligo offered several designs for the monument.

"We didn't go to the town council," said Graham. "This was our decision."

The black granite monument will be six feet tall and four feet wide. It will sit in the center of a half-acre lot.

A four-foot wide, 53-foot long walk will lead to the memorial, and a bench will sit on either side. Additional benches and landscaping will be added as funding permits, and granite memorial bricks will be added at a later date.

The legend on the memorial will read: "May this monument serve as a special tribute to all the men and women from the Sligo area who sacrificed themselves serving our country so that all Americans can live in the land of the free."

The emblem of each branch of the armed forces will be placed below the legend.

The property was donated last fall, and work on the half-acre site and construction started in April. The volunteers have been hampered by the wet weather but are hoping to pour the concrete walk this weekend.

The old foundation was filled by volunteers and by the borough at no cost to the community.

Jerry Shook estimates he has about 30 hours of excavation work into the park.

"We were out here working until 11 p.m. one night," said Shook. "Connell Kindel and I were working around the weather."

They used their own equipment instead of spending money on renting excavation equipment.

"We want to do this to honor our veterans," said Kindel. "I feel veterans deserve everything we can give them."

"I am hoping kids will learn from this and it won't stop with our generation," said Nancy Shook.

A dedication is planned for late summer or early fall.

For additional information or to donate to the project, people can call Nancy Shook at (814) 745-2206 or Graham at (814) 745-2510.

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