When the solemn words of dedication are read this Remembrance Day in Fruitvale, villagers will gather around a new cenotaph.
The community project replaces a crumbling monument that was unveiled in 1955.
“For me, out of all the projects I’ve done, I’m the most proud of this one but it has also been the most emotional one,” said Fruitvale councillor Patricia Cecchini.
“It touches so many people, you just don’t realize how many people who have had a loved one or have served themselves, it’s just the fact that people are and have given their lives for our country.”
The village received a rock from the Waneta expansion project contractors, SNC Lavalin and ASL-JV, which Cecchini handpicked from the worksite to build the new cenotaph around.
The existing bronze attachments and plaques were cleaned, re-oxidized, sealed and mounted to the stone, which is surrounded by fresh greenery and already two memorial benches.
More landscaping and the potential for two more benches will take place in the spring.
Though the village set a budget of $5,000 for the improved grounds just down the street from the Fruitvale Memorial Centre, the community response has resulted in council only spending about $500 so far.
Area A provided the largest cash donation of $1,500 and local companies like West K Concrete, John Avis Electric and Southern Excavating and more donated equipment and labour to see this development through.
Stephen Piccolo of KMG Services was among the volunteers who pitched into the project, one that is near and dear to the villager who is a retired mobile support equipment operator tradesman with the Canadian Forces.
“Our other cenotaph was in really poor shape,” said Cecchini.
“And in order to show the respect to those who’ve served our country well, we wanted to make sure we had something in place that was worthy.”
Eighty-six-year-old Phil Lifey, a veteran who served from 1943-1945 for the British Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm, is pleased to see the project completed.
“We waited a long time and wondered if anything was ever going to happen there,” he said.
“I think it’s a good idea, and I’m quite pleased with it.”
The Fruitvale resident was the president of the Legion in the village for seven years, prior to it closing in 2004, but he is still considered a life-long member.
Cecchini expects a big turnout Friday, with the ceremony getting started at around 10:45 a.m.