Three picnic shelters in Monessen City Park and the walking track will get new names.
Recreational landmarks throughout Monessen will soon be renamed for local veterans.
S. Ron Chromulak, a member of American Legion Post 28, approached the city council at last week’s meeting to revisit an idea that never came to fruition.
In March 2015, Chromulak proposed renaming three picnic areas in City Park, along with the walking track, for veterans killed in action.
“It appeared action was never taken on that proposal, so I wanted to bring it up again,” he said.
The council unanimously passed the motion to designate the SP4 Robert A. Lhota Memorial Shelter, SP4 George A. Milika Memorial Shelter, the SPC Anthony E. Madison Memorial Shelter and the Capt. John Patrick Onderko Memorial Walking Track. The amphitheater will be designated as the Lt. Col. Edward D’Alfonso Memorial Amphitheater.
“I added to my original proposal that the amphitheater in the city be renamed as well,” Chromulak said. “It seemed fitting as he was conductor of the United States Air Force Tactical Air Command Band.”
Lhota, Milika and Onderko died in Vietnam, while Madison was killed when an Iraqi Scud missile struck his Army barracks during Operation Desert Storm.
Chromulak said the designations will enhance city recreation facilities.
“These sons of Monessen and heroes in their own right deserve this unique standing in their – and our – hometown,” Chromulak said. “This would enhance City Park and make it a place where people visiting would know that we respect and honor our veterans who served our country and those who gave it all for their country.
“It only seems right that their names should live on in Monessen.” City Park already houses a war memorial and a tank from World War II.
Chromulak said the designations will incorporate the Vietnam and Gulf War memorials into the community. He knew Onderko and Lhota personally.
“I am a Vietnam veteran myself, I was there during the war and John Onderko was a classmate of mine,” he said. “Robert Lhota was a year behind me in school. I was a friend of both of them.
“Anthony Madison’s parents are still good friends of mine.”
Chromulak said it’s important to remember and recognize those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
“These people gave their lives for this country, for their community, for Monessen,” he said. “We need to recognize people like that and honor their Gold Star Families.”