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Gold Star Families Memorial Monument Unveiled in Elmira

May 29 2022
Sam Shapiro | WENY News

ELMIRA, N.Y. (WENY) -- The Gold Star Families Memorial Monument was unveiled to the Elmira community this Memorial Day Weekend honoring thousands of families nationwide.

Dozens gathered at Pulaski Park at 311 West Center Street Sunday morning to unveil the 8-foot-tall, 15-foot-wide monument. The monument honors families with loved ones in the U.S. Military who did not return from combat. For about a year, Jim Hackett worked with the City of Elmira to bring the monument to Elmira, raising roughly $60,000 in their efforts.

“This is the only one in the Southern Tier,” Hackett said. “I hope people from the surrounding communities come and visit this monument and pay respects to our fallen soldiers.”

City of Elmira Mayor Daniel Mandell Jr. helped Hackett pick Pulaski Park as a location for the monument. A military veteran himself, he was in favor of the project. Mandel says it was right to put the new monument next to the 9/11 Memorial upgraded last fall.

“This is very important to us. It shows that we support our military,” Mandell Jr. said. “We support our troops. We are a community that's very united, so that's very special.”

The project was also possible thanks to the support of the Woody Williams foundation. Since 2012, the non-profit has been building Gold Star Memorials across the country, with at least one in all 50 states.

Brent Casey, a co-founder of the foundation, was honored to unveil the 99th monument and continue giving back to Gold Star families.

“It leaves a big hole in that family,” Casey said. "We can never do enough for these Gold Star families.”

Woody and the foundation are responsible for establishing 99 Gold Star Families Memorial Monuments across the United States, with more than 76 additional monuments underway in 50 states and 1 U.S. Territory. The foundation continues to grow its reach by being involved in multiple initiatives across the country.

The Woody Williams Foundation will be unveiling its 100th memorial in Montana on Monday, May 30th. More information about the Elmira monument and Woody Williams Foundation can be found online.