Marco Island Cemetery is home to a veterans’ monument with a special past. A result of an Eagle Scout project by two boys a decade ago, it has been a gathering place for veterans and their loved ones each Veterans Day and Memorial Day.
Harsh elements and time have caused the original monument to become worn and damaged. Repairs have been ongoing. But minor fixes, such as replacing the wind-damaged flags every several months, sealing cracks in the base molding, and restoring the monument’s faded color weren’t enough. It became clear that the monument required professional work, andthe community stepped in to help. Many local organizations and businesses, including the Veterans of Foreign Wars, San Marco Catholic Church, the Calusa Garden Club, Marco Movies and Rock Solid have all contributed to the monument’s restoration project.
Thanks to the restoration, the monument now stands repaired, refreshed and hurricane-proof. There is three feet of cement underneath the monument’s graded platform. An in-ground cemented pipe angled away from the monument insures its stability underneath, along with new base molding, sealed with epoxy glue. During hurricane season there will be a three-inch strap clip that connects the top ofthe monument into a ratchet strap extending down to the base, holding an in-ground two-inch rebar with a welded handle to accommodate the strap. This will secure the monument in place during high winds.
Sal Scherano has been a Marco Island resident for over thirty years. As a longtime friend to the monument’s originators, he was a guiding influence during the monument’s creation.
Many years ago Scherano had encouraged the continuation of the project – no matter what obstacles were presented along the way. He encouraged the project’s leaders with his great life philosophy. “This is what life isall about,” Scherano recounted. “You just have to dig in and never give up. If you walk away now, as it gets tough, you will walk away from many things in life. This [project] is the nicest thing you can do for someone.”
This past Memorial Day, veterans and their family and friends gathered at the newly renovated memorial, which stands tall as a serene monument, “In Memory of All Veterans.”
To honor a veteran, pavers are available for purchase. For more information on how to get involved or to make a donation, call the Church of God at 239-394-3469.