Cohoes veterans working to build new memorial

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COHOES, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A group of veterans have been working tirelessly for a decade to build a monument in West End Park that honors all the veterans in the city.

During the time, several of the veterans who worked on fundraising have passed away, making this effort more important than ever.

These men have served our country and now they’re serving their community.

John Coonradt is a Vietnam War veteran and when he returned home to Cohoes, he realized the city was missing something.

“There was just a little Vietnam vet memorial where most people wouldn’t even notice there was one there and I got kind of upset over it.”

So he got to work, forming the Cohoes Veterans Memorial Committee to fundraise and draw up plans for a memorial that would give his fellow vets the recognition they deserve.

“Basically the heart of what we’re going to do are these six pillars and each one of them is going to have the seal of the branch of the service on it,” Bill Shea said.

A memorial for all vets and all wars built around the existing Civil War Monument in West End Park.

“We want to perpetuate that Cohoes a vibrant and vigorous sense of patriotism. That vibrant sense does exist all we’re doing igniting that vibrancy,” Shea said.

Shea spent 20 years in the Air Force and the last decade working to get the memorial built.

During that time, the committee lost four veterans who will never get to see the final product.

“I respect and appreciate everything they did while they were alive and they worked very hard while they were able to to contribute to the dream that we have of having this monument in Cohoes.”

The guys say the memorial isn’t just for them – but a way to remind and educate the community about the sacrifices that all vets have made.

“Most kids don’t even learn about it in school, nothing about it. Nothing about the wars and it’s a shame,” Coonradt said.

The memorial is about $30,000 away from being built. They have raised nearly $90,000.  The guys are now making a final push.

To donate visit the following website: http://cohoesveteransmemorial.com.

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