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Updates on Veterans Monument

Written By The Mountain Eagle on 4/17/24 | 4/17/24

By Michael Ryan

JEWETT - The financing is falling into place in such a way to make it seem as if a Veterans Monument was always meant to be in Jewett.

Town councilman John Giordano, last week, gave his colleagues an update on the memorial which, when initially proposed, was fiscally daunting.

It was only a short while ago that Giordano informed everyone the project would cost approximately $20,000, not tapping into taxpayer dollars.

“We are hoping to raise the money in three months and take six months to build it, dedicating it by the end of 2024,” Giordano said at the time.

“I can see this coming together. This is going to happen. Just talking about this monument gives me chills,” Giordano said.

Not knowing how it would work, Giordano spearheaded a fundraising effort that, faster than you can say Jack Robinson, has nearly reached its goal.

Starting from scratch, Giordano reported that close to $16,000 has been collected, allowing the town to put a down payment on the monument.

Giordano said he would meet soon with Henderson Monuments in Catskill to commence design of the stone that will contain up to 300 names.

Presuming all goes well, and there is no reason to believe everything won’t, the memorial is expected to be set along Route 23C, across from the municipal building and next to the current 9/11 tribute.

Giordano, in his report, noted exactly half of the 20 G’s came in one fell swoop through the Greene County Legislature.

Lawmaker James Thorington (District 6, Jewett, Ashland, Prattsville and Windham) provided $10,000, securing a Wayne Speenburgh grant.

Speenburgh, the former legislature chairman, had childhood roots on the mountaintop, having the grant dedicated to him after his passing.

Giordano has also been teaming up with veteran’s groups in the area such as VFW Post #1545 in Windham, accumulating more donations.

Not resting until the task is completed, volunteers are preparing for a rootin’  tootin’ “Chili Cookoff” on Saturday, May 25, serving from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at VFW Post #1545 on Route 23 on the west end of Windham.

A Silent Auction will be part of the Cookoff with the various donated chili dishes being judged by Stumps Be Gone business owner Tony Geslak, Jewett town clerk May Carl and town councilman John Pumilia.

Prizes will be awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners. There is no entry fee for the chefs. There will be a donation of $5 per person to enter. Chili will be two bucks a bowl with “live” music from Mountain Justice.

In other matters:

—Council members approved a resolution permitting participants in the upcoming Manitou’s Revenge Ultramarathon to pass through town.

Competitors are expected to be virtually unnoticed, sticking to backwoods routes, beginning June 22 at 5 a.m. on the far boundaries of the town of Windham, outside the hamlet of Maplecrest.

Manitou’s Revenge is no simple sojourn, emphasizing, on its website, that those who sign up must be “highly qualified and/or completely deranged.”

Originating in 2013, Manitou’s Revenge is a 53- mile ultramarathon through the Catskills beginning in Windham on the northern Black Dome Trail and then mostly following the Long Path from Acra Point all the way to downtown Phoenicia.

“This is not like any other ultra you’ve run before,” the website states. “This is a grueling, gnarly, nasty course with approximately 15,000 ft. of climbing, much of it rocky and precipitous.

“To be sure, there are some runnable sections, but you will more often find yourself hiking uphill or down, sometimes hand over hand.

“Expect this course to take you much longer than your average 50- miler. That’s why we are allowing 23 hrs. to complete this monster. 

“You will have to be reasonably self-sufficient. To make matters worse, the course gets progressively more difficult as you go along!

“And to top it all off, the average runner will have to tackle this hardest terrain in the dark. So, there must be something that makes this race worthwhile, right???” their website states

“Yes, the Catskills are truly scenic and wonderful, when you can look up every now and then to sneak a peek, and this will certainly become a memorable experience for anyone who takes on the challenge.”

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