Picture Rocks Borough wanted a way to honor their local citizens of the United States military who selflessly left their family and friends to protect their country.
Eugene Otterbein, Jr., a retired U.S. Air Force sergeant and president of the Veterans Memorial Park of Picture Rocks, approached Larson Design Group (LDG) to orchestrate the design for their anticipated Veterans Memorial Park.
LDG was chosen for the project for a number of reasons; the firm had recently completed a project for George A. Ferrell Elementary School of Picture Rocks, which caught Mr. Otterbein’s attention. Mr. Otterbein was also acquainted with LDG’s Kurt Hetrick, who had previously lived in Picture Rocks and was familiar with the area and its roughly 700 residents.
“This monument is a huge undertaking considering the size of the borough,” Keith Kuzio, President, LDG.
The Veterans Memorial Park features a waterfall monument at the center of the park along with a brick walkway that lists the names of veterans and fallen soldiers from each branch of the military, many of whom are local. Other bricks are engraved with the names of the people and organizations that came forward to donate their services, including those who helped with manpower or financial assistance. A small, separate monument at the entrance of the park features a nameplate with military branch seals.
The memorial was made possible largely through outside donations. Larson Design Group donated design and landscape services, structural surveying, and cost estimates from site and civil engineering in order for the project to receive DCNR grants. A separate organization donated the land for the site. State and local funds were a major contribution, along with fundraising efforts from the borough and local legions.
In addition, the waterfall was designed by two high school students from the Lycoming Career and Technology Center of Hughesville and approved by Gene Otterbein and the Veterans Memorial board. A landscape and horticulture technology crew from Pennsylvania College of Technology worked to beautify the park.
The dedication was held at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 11, 2013 at the park on Main Street and Nunn Lane.
“It was very well-run. It was inspirational to see so many veterans come out. There were a number of younger people there as well,” said LDG’s Chris Keiser, Project Designer.
Spectators noted that the crowd at the Picture Rocks Baptist Church where the pre-dedication ceremony transpired was full to capacity and that “you couldn’t fit another body in there.”
“It was great to see the community come together like this,” Kuzio said after attending the dedication. “They realize what an honor it is to have this memorial. When I look at veterans I feel a sense of admiration; I am thankful we could play a small part in honoring them.”