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Carbon County gets veterans monument

Standard-Speaker - 10/9/2018

Oct. 09--Over the past several years, Robert "Ski" Siesputowski has raised enough money to purchase and place five veterans' monuments in Carbon County.

Next month, he'll dedicate his sixth.

"This one will be the last," he said of the monument headed to Palmerton. "I try to do what I can but it's getting to the point where I can't do it anymore."

Siesputowski, 80, of Summit Hill, is a U.S. Navy veteran and life member of the Carbon County Navy Club Ship 260.

A while back, he decided that he'd like to recognize all waterborne veterans by placing special monuments in boroughs around the county. It was a way to preserve the memories of those who served and sacrificed at sea, he said.

The first one went to Ludlow Park in Summit Hill. Others were placed in Kennedy Park in Lansford; New Columbus Park in Nesquehoning; Memorial Park in Jim Thorpe and the military park in Lehighton.

The monuments generally cost about $1,200 and Siesputowski is the sole person behind the fundraising.

"I go out and I think up a slogan that I put on a T-shirt," he said. "Then I go sit out with T-shirts and pastries from 9 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon at places like Walmart, Redner's and the Jim Thorpe Market."

Each stone monument contains a brass plaque with raised lettering that pays tribute to all waterborne veterans past, present and future. Siesputowski, who served as a radar operator on three aircraft carriers, also lists the Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and World War II Merchant Marines on the plaques.

The newest monument will be dedicated at 1 p.m.Nov. 3 at Palmerton Park on Third Street. Siesputowski is inviting the public, Carbon County veterans' organizations and elected officials. He's hoping to secure color guards from different organizations, and has asked the Panther Valley High School JROTC to attend.

A former commander of the Lansford AMVETS, Siesputowski is a lifetime member of the Carbon County Navy Club.

"I brought the Navy Club to Carbon County. I was a member of one in Minersville," he explained. "We started off with 30 guys. Little by little, the guys are dying off and no young guys are joining. But we're the newest veterans organization in Carbon County. We're the smallest, and we go and we do anything the veterans organizations want done. We're always there to help."

The Club helps organize an annual service to mark the birth date of the U.S. Navy. The service will be held Wednesday at 7 p.m. from St. John's Slovak Lutheran Church, 1 E. Abbot St., Lansford.

"Everybody is invited. Navy veterans, those on active duty or in the Reserves are especially invited," Siesputowski said. Attendees will receive communion, sing the Navy hymn and will be invited to talk about their service time. Following the service, attendees may stay for coffee and cake.

For more information about the monuments or the church service, call Siesputowski at 570-645-6586.

Contact the writer: jwhalen@standardspeaker.com; 570-501-3592

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(c)2018 the Standard-Speaker (Hazleton, Pa.)

Visit the Standard-Speaker (Hazleton, Pa.) at standardspeaker.com

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