COUDERSPORT — The Veterans Wall of Honor, located in the Coudersport Arboretum, is in need of repair. Ralph Caldwell, who originally helped bring the wall to life, is looking for donations to make the repairs happen.
The Veterans Wall of Honor was created to honor and memorialize all of the Coudersport veterans. The wall has 1,500 names on it, from veterans of the civil war to the present day. Previously, there was a wall on the corner of Main and East Second Street that listed veterans, but it was removed.
Caldwell said it upset him that there was nothing here to honor local veterans and he wanted to find a way to honor the men and women of Coudersport who served — two were Congressional Medal of Honor recipients — with a permanent fixture.
With the help of D. Bruce Cahilly, Caldwell got a grant to help offset the cost of putting together the Veterans Wall of Honor. Caldwell and Bob Currin at the Potter County Historical Society then spent months researching names of local veterans, Caldwell said.
After the wall was built by Calvin Horning and the names were placed by Tooter Randall and Lisa Snyder, the American Legion Post 192 took over maintenance and care of the wall.
But since it was built and dedicated 10 years ago, a severe windstorm bent some of the flag poles. The borough’s insurance paid to have the largest flag pole replaced, Caldwell said, but none of the other flag poles were repaired properly.
Along with the flag poles, Caldwell said the names and the sliding glass are in need of repair.
“I, along with the Coudersport Arboretum members, are trying to preserve the wall and make the names more permanent,” Caldwell wrote in a press release. He hopes to remove the sliding glass that protects the names and replace it with solid glass that isn’t removable.
He plans to campaign again for any additional names to be added to the wall. There will be a cut off where no additional names will be added, Caldwell said. He wants to have the names redone and put in alphabetical order and hopes to put stars next to the names of those who died in service and give a special recognition for the two Congressional Medal of Honor soldiers who are currently listed on the wall.
Though the legion was to maintain it, Caldwell stresses that the wall doesn’t belong to the legion.
“The wall belongs to the people. It is not a legion wall and was not meant to be. It was created in honor of our veterans who served,” Caldwell said.
Like any type of construction or repairs, these updates and repairs will cost money. Caldwell is asking the people and veterans of Coudersport to make donations toward the repairs.
If anyone has questions about the wall and the repairs, call Ralph Caldwell at 814-274-7343.
To help with the costs of repair, donations can be sent to: Veterans Memorial Wall of Honor, C/O Coudersport Borough, 201 S. West St., Coudersport, PA 16915.
Anyone who served in the military from the Coudersport Area School District is eligible for inclusion. If there are additional names to be added to the wall, send to Ralph Caldwell in writing at: Ralph Caldwell, 1502 State Route 44N, Coudersport, PA 16915.