For more than 15 years, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Veterans Memorial Highway (MD 24) in Edgewood has stood as a monument to those who fought, and those who died, in the Vietnam War.
But after a huge storm in April of this year, the memorial was not completely standing tall.
“It was April 3rd,” recalled Ed Landry of the Maryland Transportation Authority’s (MDTA) John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway (JFK) Maintenance I Shop. “I noticed the sign was laying down. So when I pulled up here, I noticed it had fallen over, and when it hit the flat part of the stand, it snapped in half.”
For years the MDTA has been honored to maintain the memorial, and when Landry discovered the damage, he and his colleagues at the MDTA sprang into action to repair the broken sign.
The sign was removed and taken for repairs by the MDTA maintenance team of Landry, Jake Bowman, Chuck Griffith, Michael Dorbit, Brad Domzalski and Zach Schweiger. Then, the MDTA JFK Maintenance I painting team of James Gullion, Andrew Mowbray and Mark Sargent gave the newly repaired sign a fresh coat of paint.
Crews returned the sign to the memorial just in time for the garden’s annual replanting. The garden and the memorial are both very special to MDTA JFK Maintenance Technician IV Frederick Hall.
“The sign itself was built by people that I knew, went to school with. It was installed the year I graduate,” he said. “When I started at the [MDTA] this was my assigned area. So, I have had my hands on this for 15 years.”
The team of Hall, Charles Madera and Joseph Bredehoeft take pride in their work at the memorial.
“It is over a thousand flowers,” said Madera. “It took a lot of people and a lot of hands to get this together and I hope it makes everyone proud and happy.”
MDTA Executive Director Jim Ports toured the memorial earlier this month and met with the crews responsible for the repairing, repainting and replanting. The tour was conducted in small groups and with everyone wearing face coverings to comply with COVID-19 precautions.
“I really appreciate the patriotism of each and every one of these individuals associated with this. I can’t be prouder of the MDTA folks,” said Executive Director Ports. “They are out here each and every day keeping our highways safe.”