Jack Kidd and Larry Cadman gave a special presentation at the June 11 Austintown Board of Education meeting to talk about the proposed Fitch veteran's memorial project. The two men, both from the class of 1962, are planning to hold a dedication ceremony during this year's Awesometown Festival.
"We now have $10,000 for the memorial," Kidd said. "Most of it has been through a successful sale of the wooden ink pens."
Kidd and Cadman presented the idea for a memorial in January. Their mission was to remember two of their classmates who gave their lives in service to the country.
Photos by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Fitch class of 1962 graduates Jack Kidd and Larry Cadman show off some of the mementoes that will be included in a memorial showcase in honor of two fallen Fitch veterans.
Sgt. James Prommersberger and Lt. Charles Brown were both members of the class of 1962. They played on the Fitch football team and after graduation went on to military service. Both young men lost their lives while serving in Vietnam.
The idea for the memorial to the two classmates came after the class of 1962's 50th anniversary reunion. Kidd said in preparing for the reunion, the two classmates' names kept coming up.
The classmates were mentioned during the reunion with the playing of "Taps" after their names were read. That moment spawned the idea to have a memorial to them at Fitch.
The plan began growing after Kidd and Cadman approached the school board with the idea. They presented the idea to take pieces of the old Fitch gym floor and form wooden pens that could be sold as a keepsake and fundraiser, which was a big success.
Kidd said the idea for the memorial has actually turned into two memorials. The first will be a showcase in the hall at Fitch. That showcase will include pictures of Brown and Prommersberger as well as their actual silver stars and a fallen soldiers bronze statue that was made for the display. A poem written by one of the young men was put on a brass plate and will be placed in the display as well.
The second memorial will be located at the south end of the football field near a group of pine trees. That memorial will include the actual flagpole from the old Fitch building. The old Fitch entrance headstone will be incorporated into the monument. On the monument will be plaques dedicated to any veteran.
"We originally planned to have just veterans who were Fitch graduates," Kidd said, "but we decided to open it up to all veterans who loved Austintown, whether they attended Fitch or not."
The outside monument will be dedicated during the Awesometown Festival on Oct. 6. Kidd said there is also a plan to have a float in the Fourth of July parade as well.
"This thing has really gone huge, even international," Kidd said. "We had a company from Canada call and offer to do the laser work on the memorial stone."
For Kidd and Cadman, honoring their classmates will be a way to preserve the memory of Brown and Prommersberger, who never got to experience the past 50 years.
"They were heroes," Cadman said. "These guys weren't just our classmates, they were our friends."