COPAKE – On Thursday, November 11, the ribbon was cut on the newly completed Veterans Memorial Park at the Copake Country Club. Dozens of veterans with their families and friends gathered in the hilltop in the center of the golf course. Vietnam veteran Frank Zacarolli acted as master of ceremonies welcoming the assembly, introducing the New York State VFW Commander Michael Hoag who attended with State Adjutant Bob Mitchell. Austin Urban cut the ribbon on behalf of club owners, the families of Jon Urban and Ross Mauri.
The memorial stands on a picturesque hilltop at the golf course with Copake Lake and the hills of Craryville visible all around. It consists of a wall installed with the names of veterans, surmounted with a sculpted eagle, wings spread. Opposite the wall is a large American Flag visible from the clubhouse and beyond.
Frank Zacarolli, who is a Copake Country Club member, is also the senior vice commander of the Hillsdale VFW Post 7552. He and Post 7552 Quartermaster James MacArthur spearheaded the project.
“They are very patriotic and wanted to do something at the golf course for the veterans,” Mr. Zacarolli said of talking to the club owners about the project. “They had the idea to put up a big flag. I said that the Hillsdale VFW could help by sponsoring the project. Fundraisers were organized and in 2019 the 15×25 foot flag was installed on a 75 foot pole….Then they already had an idea to make some kind of a park, and I said how about a veteran’s park, and in 2020 that project was started.
He went on to say, “We held two golf tournaments to raise money for the materials. If we had to pay for labor we could never have done this.”
Mr. Zacarolli mentioned the stonemasons Mark Steuerwald and Mark Steuerwald, Jr. “Every stone passed through their hands,” he said.
The center of the wall names the significant donors. Plaques with the names of veterans fill the rest of the front facing wall.
There are 200 plaques already installed and space for 200 more. Anybody can honor a vet this way and it doesn’t have to be a foreign war veteran – as long as they were in the service. Applications for plaques are available on the club’s web site.
Of particular mention for donation of labor, equipment and materials are Stuerwald Masonry, Conrad Coons Crane, Ed Herrington, Inc., F.H. Stickles Concrete and Stickles Electric, Leggett Electric, Ron Jacobson Excavation, and Ron Catucci and Robert Wood for materials.