Ohio Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park

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The Ohio Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park in Clinton, Ohio, 44216,  was the idea of Dan Delarosa, Mansfield, Oh in 2004.  Dan’s inspiration was his dream to honor the death of his brother, Jesus Delarosa who was shot down in Vietnam.  The park, located at 8005 Clev-Mas. Rd., opened with a dedication on May 17, 2009 attended by approximately 7000 visitors.     

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The memorial is still a work in progress.  To date it contains the Ohio Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Wall, 125 feet of black granite etched with the names of 3,095 from Ohio, who lost their lives while serving their country in Southeast Asia.  Surrounding the wall are 30 black granite benches donated by local cities, Villages and Townships, military, civic and fraternal organizations and some individuals.  There are also several monuments, an Ohio Welcome sign and the heart breaking Gold Star Mother statue which stands in front of the wall, watching over the names.

The next project, scheduled for dedication Veterans’ Day 2009, was to be the POW/MIA Reflecting Pond.  The cost of the construction was totally funded on June 22, 2009.  When the $20,000 check for the final grant was received it was not  deposited into the dedicated savings account for the POW memorial.  As a matter of fact, those monies were AWOL for six months until after a complaint I filed with the Ohio Attorney General’s office brought together a meeting on November 24, 2009. Even at that, the $20,000 came from the organizations checking account not from where ever.  This placed the checking account in a status that did not reflect the donations minus the minor expenses of the past six months.

The OVVMP committee refused to construct the POW memorial.  Instead they instructed me (VP and Chief Fundraiser) to continue to solicit funds for the project using inflated figures for the cost. (ie to ask $60,000 to 90,000 for a project with a cost of l$37,000)  They cited the extra money could " be used for other purposes".  They also refused to permit competitive bids for the project.  They eluded to a "verbal contract" that gave all monument construction to a conflict of interest person on the board, Ken Noon, who owns Summit Memorials, Akron, Ohio.  To date Noon has received over $308,000 in granite contracts without ever putting the project out for bids..  At the Nov. 24, 2009 meeting with the AG, Noon presented  a written contract allegedly signed by Dan Delarosa as Pres. of OVVMP, 2006.  Dan insists he never signed any such document. The AG did not even question the validity of the signature even after Dan contacted them.

Noon has complete control of the OVVMP Board, even if he stepped down, he would still have complete control as all Officers are beholden to him in some way. The current Treasurer is even the bookkeeper for his business.  The OVVMP Board is in violation of their own by-laws, 501c3 regulations and grant stipulations.  After trying for months in person and through emails, to get them to abide by the rules, I finally filed a complaint with the AG and the IRS.

In a nut shell, THIS VETERANS MEMORIAL HAS BEEN HIJACKED RIGHT OUT FROM UNDER OUR VETERANS.  Not only did they attempt to misdirected grant money, even more importantly they refuse to manage and operate this memorial with the respect and honor that it deserves and is so long overdue.

In order to save this project for the Ohio Veterans, whom it was dedicated to, we need to dismantle the OVVMP Board and replace it the Veterans who supported the memorial at the dedication and put their own money into building it. We must remove the current board and put Veterans at the helm; we owe that to the 3,095 on the wall.  

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WE NEED TO GET THE POW/MIA POND CONSTRUCTED AND DEDICATED ASAP.  WE OWE THAT TO THOSE WHO HAVE NOT YET RETURNED HOME.

 

Send your E-Mails to those responsible:

 

Ken Noon, Trustee of OVVMP & owner of Summit Memorials, Akron, Ohio

[email protected]

 

Mayor Phyllis Mayberry, Village of Clinton

[email protected]

 

Julie Kline, Secretary OVVMP

[email protected]

 

Linda Murphy, Pres. Clinton Cemetery Board

[email protected]

 

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