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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Memorial monument gets spruced up for spring

Dr. Nick Cohen, pictured using the hose, and Mark Gratton, pictured using a squeegee, worked together to wash the Essex Memorial Honour Wall on Monday afternoon.

by Sylene Argent

Since its implementation in 2014, the Essex Memorial Spitfire has attracted a lot of attention to Essex Centre. Its adjoining Honour Wall was installed around a year later to recognize local WWII service men and women, who served in the RCAF and RAF during WWII.

  Two local individuals, Dr. Nick Cohen and Mark Gratton, took advantage of the warmer weather on Monday afternoon to wash the Essex Memorial Honour Wall as a show of respect to the many individuals whose names are listed on the monument.

  One of the veterans listed is Sergeant Guy L. Gratton, who is Gratton’s father.

  Gratton said he was involved with the Essex Memorial Spitfire project early on and is passionate about the project. When Essex Memorial Spitfire squad member Suzanne Allison put out an idea about a cleanup, he decided to volunteer to help clean up the Essex Memorial Wall.

  “When I heard about it, I jumped on it,” Gratton said.

  At that point, Gratton solicited the help of his long-time friend, Dr. Nick Cohen, and the two spent some time removing dust, grime, and dirt from the memorial monument on Monday afternoon.

  Cohen also has a soft spot for the monument, as his father served in the British Army.

  Cohen and Gratton would like similar memorial cleanups to take place more frequently, and intend to help make that possible. Cohen said it is all about respecting veterans and the sacrifices they made.

Gratton added, “For all [veterans] went through, I’m sure I can spare a few hours to help clean the memorial.”

  Soon, a park bench will be installed nearing the Essex Memorial Spitfire. At the December 17, 2018 Essex Council meeting, Allison was one of three delegates who asked the Town permission to install a steel bench in the Heritage Gardens Park in honour of William (Bill) Gould.

  Gould, Allison said, was an RCAF veteran, who spent three years serving in WWII.

  Council decided to allow for the bench to be placed at the requested site, but noted the delegates would have to fundraise for the concrete pad as the Town has a bench program, which this project did not go through.  

  Several Councillors, at that time, noted they would make a donatation towards the cement pad.

  The bench will be installed in time for the Essex Rocks & Rolls Cruise-In and Essex Business Expo to take place at the Heritage Gardens Park this June.

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