Shetler is Donating the Granite Base
Person of the week: Westmont resident building memorial to veterans
Standing reverently where two tall pine trees once stood in a Westmont Borough neighborhood is a tribute to veterans. Marty Malek, of the 200 block of Wyoming Street, is nearing the completion of a veterans memorial in the yard of his residence. Malek said he undertook the project to honor his late father, a World War II veteran, as well as other relatives and all veterans who have served our country.
“It’s important to do this because they made sacrifices for our country, and they fought for our freedoms,” he said of veterans. Malek’s father, Stanley Malek, served with the Army in the European Theater during WWII; an uncle, Richard Schiffhauer of Morrellville, served in the Navy during WWII; and a grandfather, the late William Schiffhauer, served in the Army during World War I.
The veterans memorial consists of lighted flagpoles with the American flag on the tallest pole and Army and Marine Corps flags beside it. He still needs to obtain Navy and Air Force flags for the remaining flagpoles as well as statues representing both of those branches. He already has installed statues representing the Army and Marine Corps. Another prominent piece of the memorial will be a large granite honor roll that will be inscribed with the names of Johnstown area veterans.
For the first time, he is looking toward the community for help with the project. He is seeking donations to help him pay for the honor roll, which will cost $1,100. So far he has $500, which came from his own funds and donations from the public in the form of money and aluminum cans that he cashes in for money.
He said the honor roll will be purchased from Shetler Memorials, located near Davidsville. Shetler is donating the granite base for the stone, he said.
The goal is to have the memorial completed by Veterans Day, Malek said. He said he had wanted to build the memorial for many years but didn’t have the space. That changed when two large pine trees were taken down in the fall. Malek also is an active member at the West Hills Regional Fire Department and Our Mother of Sorrows Roman Catholic Church in Westmont. For his efforts, Malek is the Person of the Week.
Rickey Schiffhauer, who lives near Malek and is a member of the West Hills Fire Department, said the memorial is fantastic. “He believes strongly in honoring veterans,” he said. The memorial will touch many people as they drive past and will cause them to think about what veterans have done for this country, Schiffhauer said. Gerry Horvath and Randy Reynolds, both officers with the Conemaugh Valley Detachment of the Marine Corps League, said the detachment was conducting a Flag Day ceremony in Westmont when Malek invited them to see the veterans memorial. “The memorial is beautiful,” said Horvath, a Vietnam War veteran and judge advocate for the detachment. “We were quite impressed by it.”
Reynolds, a Persian Gulf War veteran and detachment commandant, said Malek is doing a great job. Malek’s memorial shows respect and appreciation for what veterans have done in the past, are currently doing and will do in the future, he said. Reynolds said the detachment is planning to conduct a dedication service at the memorial when it is finished.
People wishing to help can send donations to the Marty Malek Veterans Memorial Fund, rear 205 Wyoming St., Johnstown, Pa. 15905.
Todd Berkey – The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA – Posted: Sunday, August 2, 2009 11:36 pm – BY FRANK SOJAK