Memory carved in steel

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In order to cover the project’s $2,000 cost, St. John launched several fundraising efforts by airing a commercial that promoted the project on Malverne TV, and received donations via email and after mass at Our Lady of Lourdes Church. He received discounts from companies that contributed to the project, he said, including Michael’s Electric Supply, in Lynbrook, and Oceanville Mason Supply, in Oceanside.

“I’ve gotten a lot of generosity, and people have been stopping me on the street, saying, ‘You know, you’re doing a great thing,’” St. John said. “It just makes me feel like what I’m doing is actually making a difference — I feel like it’s become more than an Eagle Scout project to a lot of people.”

Over the course of 14 months, St. John said, he built the monument out of cinderblock, brick, concrete and bluestone — complete with lights at its base — to showcase the steel on a protected platform. “The original memorial very quietly made its presence. This added piece makes it a little more visible,” said Troop 24 Scoutmaster Joseph Resch, 73, who has been involved in Scouting for 30 years. “It’s a nice backdrop to the original monument, and makes more of a concrete statement with the village.”

At the monument’s dedication, St. John thanked McDonald and the village; Director of Public Works Paul Jessup; Michael’s Electric Supply; Vinny Bonfiglioli of Oceanville Mason Supply; the not-for-profit organization Woodmen of the World; the Rev. Frank Parisi of Our Lady of Lourdes Church; Resch and his fellow Troop 24 scouts; his father, Assistant Scoutmaster Nick St. John; his mother, Suzanne; his brother, Zack; and two sisters, Sarah and Olivia, who, Nicholas said, made his project “more than just a dream and a drawing.”

“I couldn’t be prouder,” said Suzanne. “He did a beautiful job organizing — even though he may not have literally had his hand in every piece of the work, like the masonry, he was there doing everything every step of the way. I hope he’s half as proud of himself as I am of him.”

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