EVERETT, Pa. (WTAJ)– Six years of hard work and $200,000 in fundraising efforts later and the Medal of Honor Statue in Everett was unveiled Saturday afternoon.
The Everett Lions Club hosted the event and has been leading the push for the project. President Mark Rakoczy said it feels unbelievable.
“We decided to take on the project, not really knowing if we could raise that kind of money cause we had never done that before,” said Rakoczy. “But it’s been a six-year process and we finally got it done.”
The statue depicts Everett’s two Medal of Honor recipients, World War II Veterans SGT Ellis R. Weicht and SSG Robert W. Hartsock. President of the Bedford County Vietnam Veterans Association and first cousin of Hartsock, Jim Hartsock, said it wouldn’t have been possible without countless donations and Everett native and sculptor Wayne Hyde.
“We donated to this statue too so we wanted to see it make it’s appearance and Wayne Hyde is a heck of a sculptor, he’s great,” said Hartsock. “I’m telling you he’s impressive.”
Hyde was the sculptor of the statue and was responsible for the design of the two men side by side, saying that is how he pictured that they would serve if they had fought together. Hyde shared a message with the crowd to those who may grow up to serve their country someday.
“Serve with pride and distinction because you come from a land where heroes come from,” Hyde said. “You come from Everett.”
“I’m not surprised that the community came together because this is what they do for all of our sporting events, this is just Everett,” said great nephew of Weicht Joshua Weicht. “It’s a wonderful town and I love it. I love living here and you couldn’t ask for a better town to live in. Great community, great people.”
Sister of Robert W. Hartsock, Rita Kline now lives in Georgia and came back for the unveiling. She said that she hopes people see the monument and remember all of those who have given their lives for their country.
“He was a true hero, he was just a down to earth farm boy and a true hero,” Kline said.