Hometown Heroes Memorial in Mayville plows along
MAYVILLE — The village of Mayville is nearing closer and closer to the completion of its new Chautauqua County Hometown Heroes Veterans Memorial.
Construction of the project’s gazebo has continued at the front of the Mayville Cemetery despite recent winter weather, after slowing down during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jim Kurtz, a former town of Chautauqua board member, has aided the project over the course of several years, and is hopeful that the first phase of construction will be completed this spring.
“It started, I don’t know about eight years ago,” Kurtz said, mentioning that the town had considered building a veterans memorial near its municipal building.
“That was kind of the start of it all and part of the plan for that was to have a veterans memorial in the park,” he said. “We kind of went from there to the village of Mayville. They gave of us a couple acres of land there right at the front of the cemetery, and the reason for that was the area–when they tore down the old Peacock Inn for the county office buildings back in the early 1970s–that is where they dumped it, the demolition material. So it was not fit for graves with all of the bricks and things from the building in there. So that is why that has always been left open.”
The site was dug out and a pad was laid down for construction of the gazebo, while a 501(c)(3) was formed to organize funds for the Hometown Heroes Memorial from municipalities and local organizations.
In June 2019, a groundbreaking ceremony was held at the site.
“We sold close to 12,000 candy bars to help fund it,” Kuntz said. “We’ve had dinners, raffles. The first phase was $75,000 and we’ve raised that. As soon as we’ve got the rest of the gazebo finished we’ll be looking to get sponsors for bricks starting out with missing in action (veterans), mostly from World War II. We’ve got 95 of them. The government basically said if there is no body there is no marker. There are 95 Chautauqua County veterans that were missing in action, there is no memorial place for them.”
In addition to laying down bricks for veterans declared MIA, the memorial will also include bricks for 119 local veterans buried in foreign cemeteries such as those in North Africa, France and the Philippines.
“We’re getting bricks for those to have a memorial for the families. At least they won’t have to go to Hawaii to visit a grave,” Kuntz said.
The memorial will also include honors for prisoners of war and soldiers who have received purple hearts.
“If somebody wanted to honor their father or brother who was in the service, they don’t have to be deceased,” Kuntz said.
For more information on the project or to contribute, search for Chautauqua County Hometown Heroes Veterans Memorial on Facebook.
The memorial will include bricks for the 11 Medal of Honor recipients from Chautauqua County. Those who will be recognized include:
≤ 1st Lt. Alonzo H. Cushing, Fredonia
≤ Lt. Gen. John M. Schofield, Gerry 2nd Lt. Ebenezer Skellie, Mina
≤ Sgt. William Houlton, Clymer
≤ Sgt. Edgar P. Putnam, Stockton
≤ Pvt. James M. Young, Ellicott
≤ Capt. Edwin Goodrich, Westfield
≤ Sgt. John M. Haight, Westfield
≤ Sgt. Thomas Horan, Dunkirk
≤ Sgt. Henri L. Brown, Ellicott
WORLD WAR I
≤ Sgt. Archie Peck, Sinclairville