Yorkville monument renovated after 50 years

YORKVILLE — Some five decades ago, Yorkville Post 4811 decided to erect a monument to honor the men and women who served in the Armed Forces from Yorkville.

VFW members asked village council for a piece of property across from the municipal building to erect the monument. Council members were very supportive of the project.

Yorkville Councilman Ron Emerson, who was recently honored by the Ohio Legislature for serving 50 consecutive years as a councilman, was appointed to serve on the committee along with VFW members.

“S. White and Sons were contracted to design and erect the monument. It was to be black marble with a gas light to sit atop the monument which was dubbed the “Eternal Flame.” There was also to be an engraved inscription, dedicated to the men and women of Yorkville who served our country in all wars,” Emerson noted. “There was also to be a Great Seal of the United States near the top of the monument and the Great Seal of the State of Ohio on the marble podium.”

Emerson said all the engravings were done in bright gold to stand out. Through subsequent years the gas light became unusable and the gold engravings became dull.

“My wife, Sally, and I decided to undertake the task to bring the monument to its former beauty. We felt an obligation to do the work since I was on the original committee and also to honor my brother PVT. George R. Emerson who was killed in action in France in 1944,” Emerson said.

The Emersons’ first stop was buying gold metallic paint to paint the engravings and seals. They followed that with purchasing and planting eight trees at the rear of the monument.

“We hope that when the trees reach full maturity, they will serve as a beautiful backdrop. My granddaughter, Natalie Hesske and Justin Dombo, a Yorkville fireman, assisted with the tree planting,” Emerson offered. “Flowers were also planted in an area next to the monument.”

That set the stage with dealing with the most pressing matter — the gas light.

“We contacted the gas company to see if the gas light could be resurrected. They gave several reasons why they couldn’t restore the gas light,” Emerson said. “We then decided to install an electric light atop the monument.”

VFW Post 4811 stepped up once again.

“The officers of Post 4811, Alan Richardson and Mark Armitage, graciously provided the funds to purchase the light along with the wiring,” Emerson said. “Under the expertise of Water Superintendent Chad Buksa, along with Justin (Dombo), work commenced to install the light. Also, a debt of gratitude is owed to John Schultz, a local contractor along with his crew, for digging the trench and for laying the underground wiring.”

Emerson said the light was fixed atop the monument and lit on Sept. 11, marking the 12th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

“It will stand out as a beacon in the night to shed light on the monument and surrounding grounds,” he said.

The monument sits alongside a World War II cannon.

Kapral may be reached at bkapral@timesleaderonline.com