Rome, N.Y. - Work on Phase 2 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at the Griffiss Business and Technology Park in Rome has resumed.
The big centerpiece of Phase 2 is the restoration of a UH-1 Huey Helicopter, a chopper known to have played a big role during the Vietnam War.
Right now the New York State Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund in Rome is refurbishing the helicopter, which it purchased last August, to ultimately place in its Vietnam Veterans Memorial this summer as part of the Phase 2 unveiling.
On Saturday, Shane Ramnarine, the owner of CNY Precision Welding & Custom Fabrication in Rome who is donating the labor and equipment used to strip the old paint off of the chopper, was on hand helping the cause himself. He says it's truly an honor to part of this effort, "I’ll tell you what, it’s an honor, it’s an honor to work on a project like this."
Mark Jennings, Vice President of the New York State Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund in Rome, says this entire Memorial project was a vision here in the Rome area more than two decades ago, and he says that vision wouldn't have come this far if it wasn't for the continued generosity of businesses and people like Ramnarine.
Jennings says the paint to paint the chopper, the 10 foot pole and the welding of that pole that the chopper will sit on, are all also being donated, "We took possession of the helicopter back on August 1st of 2020 but with all the setbacks of COVID and the delays and shut downs and everything that we had absolutely no control over, we had a few snags but we got through them, we got the wrinkles ironed out and now we’re seeing some light at the end of the tunnel."
Jennings is hoping for a July 10th Phase 2 unveiling of which the UH-1 Huey Helicopter will be the center of attention, "This type of helicopter is one of the most widely, if not the most important piece of military equipment used during Vietnam. The best sound that a wounded soldier could hear was the sound of this helicopter coming in because 9 out of 10 times anyone who was wounded in action survived because of these helicopters, so are a very, very important piece of military history."
Jennings says putting the UH-1 Huey on a 10 foot pole will be eye-catching, "It’s going to give a very good reference to those folks who don’t know where our memorial is because it’s a little difficult to see, it’s up on a little hill. But coming from any direction around, you’ll see the helicopter up there, you’ll know where the memorial is located."
Besides the helicopter, Jennings says there will also be a number of other additions as part of the Phase 2 unveiling, including five flag poles, one for each branch of the service, two slant stones, one for Agent Orange and another for women who served in Vietnam. Also, a plaque made for Gold Star families, granite benches and landscaping additions.
If you would like to make a donation to help with Phase 2 of the Memorial project, you can mail a check to :
New York State Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund
210 Elm St.
Rome, N.Y. 13440