Many help make fort a success

To the editor:

It has been a busy season so far at Historic Fort Steuben. We offered our respect and appreciation for our nation’s military on May 23 with the flagpole dedication ceremony at the Veterans Memorial Fountain. That was a wonderful occasion with excellent speakers, stirring music and the addition of a new landmark to the city. All those involved made the event memorable, but we especially want to thank the Tri-State Community Band, Bill Demjan, the Tri-State Young Marines, the Fort Steuben Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Rent-a-Center, Tim McCoy of WTOV-TV and our guest speakers, U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Marietta, Lt. Jonathan Bratten, AMVETS Commander Dan Wilson and Vietnam Marine veteran and Pastor Jack Ernest. We were able to meet all the expenses of the installation of the flagpoles through a generous grant from the J.C. Williams Charitable Trust and the donations of individuals and organizations who recognized the importance of honoring our servicemen and women.

Two weeks later, the fort hosted its 25th-annual festival – Ohio Valley Frontier Days. More than 1,200 people toured the fort and enjoyed living history by observing and participating in the various activities that were ongoing within the picket walls. Singing along with Ohio artist Steve Free, learning the steps of colonial dances, helping to make rope, listening to a 19th century circuit rider, hearing the firing of the muskets and watching the Native Americans were just some of the ways history came alive during the weekend. We won’t forget the proud smiles of the youngsters who rode ponies for the first time or worked with the hand tools. It was a great opportunity for education and fun for the whole family.

We could not do any of these events without the help of our faithful volunteers who give their time and energies to add to the quality of life of our community. Thanks to Mark Nelson and his talented family, Ken Perkins, Patrick McLaughlin, Tom Lloyd, Ed Takach, Jim Craig, John Boliegh, Alan Hall, Dan Filbert and his Scout troop, Frank Gutierrez, Kristi Sands, Mary Beth Bauer, Lloyd Wells, Dave Nicholson, Bob Burns, John Holmes, Larry Coleman, Marnee Muhleman, Dick and Peg Maloney, Brian Duray, Susan and Mary Ann Costantini, and my wife, Judy Barilla, along with the fort’s director, Judy Bratten, and her assistant, Mary Snyder – many of whom put in long hours planning and working to make these events successful.

And, thanks to all those who support our mission of “Keeping History Alive.”

Jerry Barilla