Boat memorial restored

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By PJ Ferguson

Members of American Legion Post 83 helped to rebuild the boat memorial that stands on the corner of Poultney Street and Broadway.

The monument is named and modeled after the U.S.S. Liberty, Benedict Arnold’s ship that was built in 1775 in the town of Skenesboro on Lake Champlain, giving Whitehall their claim to “the birthplace of the U.S. Navy.”

William W. Jones spearheaded the project after Legion chairman Jim Lafayette instructed that the time was right to take on creating a new replica.

The former monument has been rebuilt twice, with the last edition destroyed by the wind roughly two years ago, according to Jones and Lafayette.

With help from Dennis Down, George Enny, George Rivette, Brendan Beebe, and his wife Danielle and his son Josh, William finished the project in two days from start to finish.

It was no easy task as Jones and company had no picture of any older editions of the model on which to base their work.

Instead, they used a painting of Arnold’s original naval ship.

George Enny standing next to the restored monument.

“I’d like to thank everybody publicly for their effort and I hope everyone enjoys it,” said Jones.

According to Lafayette, the boat memorial was a “Chamber of Commerce project.”

“They kind of let it go and we picked up the ball,” said Lafayette, adding that the Legion assumed the efforts of maintaining the grass around the monument.

The main reason for the Legion taking on the job: in tribute to decorated veteran and Legionnaire Henry F. Gurney, who passed away last August.

“The driving factor was out of respect for Henry,” said Lafayette, recalling Gurney would use his own money to put American flags around the fixture. “We knew how much he liked it.”

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