The Alexander Hose Company and the Joseph Berberich Volunteer Fire Department were recognized Thursday afternoon for contributing moneys to the Fallen Stars Memorial Mural.
The Mohawk and Cedarville firefighters hosted a Halloween hayride at Gelston Castle Estate last month and raised $290 for the benefit of the mural that memorializes the men and women from New York state who died while serving their country in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“We decided 10 percent of the profits from the hayride would benefit the mural as a way to give back to the community,” said Bernie Sommer, of the Alexander Hose Company.
“Once again Bernie and Marc Sommer have demonstrated their support of veterans, particularly our Fallen Stars Memorial Mural. One of the purposes of the mural is to encourage people to remember our fallen by means of projects intended to improve the quality of life of given communities. The Sommers epitomize that purpose,” said Fallen Stars Memorial Committee member Ray Lenarcic.
Bernie and Marc Sommer were formally recognized by the committee in September for continuing to honor and recognize the state’s fallen soldiers through community projects.
On Thursday, the Alexander Hose Company and the Joseph Berberich Volunteer Fire Department were presented Fallen Star certificates in honor of Major Thomas Kennedy and Major Paul Voelke. Kennedy and Voelke served in the U.S. Army and were killed in Afghanistan in separate incidents.
Lenarcic said the donated funds will allow the committee to update the mural that depicts the names, hometowns, ranks and branches of service of each soldier killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Unfortunately, more names and photos of young men and women from New York state will have to be added to the mural, which is sad to think about,” he said. “It’s unfortunate, but it’s also reality.”
Lenarcic said the donated funds will also be put toward travel expenses, as the mural is displayed at locations throughout the state, and has traveled about 9,000 miles in its four years of existence.
“The committee feels very strongly the mural needs to be seen, as it is a reminder of those who have given their lives for our country,” he said. “By looking at the names and photos of the men and women, onlookers can see the cost of fighting for other people’s freedom, as well as our own.”
The funds from the hayride will also pay for the printing of a pamphlet to accompany the mural.
Anyone interested in hosting the Fallen Stars Memorial Mural at an event is asked to contact Crowley-Barnum American Legion Post No. 25 at 866-4870.