Downtown Wapakoneta will see some construction on Auglaize Street for the next couple of months as a new monument and parking lot are in the works.
The Vietnam Veterans of America Wapakoneta #1126 have been given the approval from the city to construct a Gold Star Family Memorial in the lot where the old Koneta Hotel once was.
The massive 7' tall 13' wide monument will be a reminder to appreciate the heroes and their families who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom.
Diane Naseman, a Gold Star family member from New Breman is on the committee for the monument. This project hits especially close to home, as she lost a son in the military. She says, “It just always brings tears to my eyes honoring all our veterans that have passed and who have been killed in the line of duty and it’s just a wonderful way of showing our appreciation for their service and sacrifices.”
The VVA Wapak chapter gathered at the site on Friday with mayor Stinebaugh, where backhoes were in place getting ready to break ground on the project. After the Koneta Hotel was burned down then demolished, Stinebaugh was looking for ideas on what to add to the area besides just a parking lot.
Stinebaugh says, “We had the opportunity, I thought it would be nice to have a little space--it cost us a couple of parking spots-- but it softens it up and is going to make it more attractive.”
The Vietnam Vets of America are currently looking for donations to complete the $75 thousand project, and have already managed to raise over $30 thousand since April. The group of vets say they hope the monument will be a symbol of our freedoms for many people to enjoy for years to come.
Ace Ambos, the secretary of the local Vietnam Veterans of America says, “We’re hoping this will last for decades and generations after generations. We’re trying to keep it in the minds of the younger generation what people have given up for their freedom that they enjoy today.”
The project is expected to be completed by the fall, both the parking lot and the gold star family memorial. To donate to the cause, you can write out a check to the VVA Chapter 1126 and mail it to P.O. Box 334 Wapakoneta, Ohio 45895.