One man's mission to update memorial park

By Perry Russom

March 6, 2014 Updated Mar 6, 2014 at 6:41 PM EST

Owego, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The Tioga County Veterans Memorial Park in Owego is being updated.

The park honors the lives of the brave men and women from Tioga County who died while fighting for our country.

The memorial sits on the green between the courthouse and the Court Street Bridge.

The park was built in the 1980s and over the years, the list of names of those who died fighting for our country has been growing.

"This was something I felt was extremely important to be completed,” said Bill Chandler, the man behind the memorial’s update.

The memorial currently has five monuments and five flag poles. They honor the lives of soldiers who died in World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

However, the current monuments are outdated by 32 names. Chandler gave himself the job of having the missing names etched in stone with the rest.

Chandler, a veteran himself, is calling for three new monuments. One updated monument for World War II, another for Modern Warfare and finally, one for the Medal of Honor recipients.

"The medal of honors monument will be on a stone base with a bronze statue of the boot, rifle and helmet on top," said Chandler.

The five recipients from Tioga County are Richard Stout, Isaac Catlin, Benjamin Tracy and John Tribe. All four were given the award for their bravery in the Civil War.

"I'm also putting two additional flag poles in," said Chandler.

The two new poles will fly the American flag while the others will have the flags of the five branches of the military.

"For recent war veterans it's very important,” said Owego Mayor Kevin Millar. “For Iraq veterans and the veterans from World War II that have passed away since the monument was built is very important."

Chandler has already gotten the go-ahead from the Owego Village Board to start the project. Right now, he’s in the midst of collecting donations.

The entire project is expected to cost $30,000. So far, he’s $12,000 short of having the entire project paid for.

If all goes according to plan, the monuments will be unveiled on Memorial Day.

If you’re interesting in donating to the construction of the memorial, you can mail a check to 207 Main Street, Owego, NY 13827. Checks are to be made payable to “VFW Post #1371.”

Chandler said if he receives more than $30,000, that money will go towards care packages for troops overseas.