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Bronze soldier leads off Medina’s Parade of Lights

Photos by Tom Rivers: The first float in Medina’s Parade of Lights carried a 1,500 bronze statue that is a memorial to the 550 local soldiers who trained at the former Medina Armory and fought in wars on behalf of the United States. The soldiers enlisted and trained at the Medina Armory for conflicts from 1898 to 1945 including the Spanish-American War, Mexican-American, World War I and World War II.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 November 2018 at 9:57 pm

Statue will be installed in spring atop monument at YMCA, the former Armory

A community fundraising effort for $65,000 paid for the statue, which will be installed in the spring on top of a monument by the former Armory, which is now the Orleans County YMCA. The monument includes the names of the 550 soldiers who trained in Medina and then went off to war.

Brian Porter of Lockport created the statue after a 2-year effort. Members of the Company F Monument Committee picked up the statue on Monday from a foundry at the University of Buffalo.

The statue resembles World War I doughboy from a century ago.

David Kazmierczak, a veteran from Medina, gets a close look at the statue.

The Company F Monument Committee rode in the parade with the statue. The committee was led by the late Bill Menz, who passed away at age 86 on July 16. Menz spent more than a decade working on a monument and memorial outside the former Medina Armory.

Bill Menz is pictured in April 2015 with the monument by the former Armory. That’s where the 7-foot-tall statue will be installed this spring. Menz didn’t want the original purpose of the building to be forgotten, as a training site for soldiers who served in several wars. Menz helped build the monument that was unveiled in 2008 by the Armory. Menz sent out letters, knocked on doors and made numerous phone calls to raise funds for the monument and the new statue.

The statue heads down Main Street in front of thousands of people. The parade route is the exact opposite of that taken by those troops when they marched from the Armory to the train station in October 1940.

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Mary Beth Germano and her mother Betty Menz snuggle up in the viewing area as they wait for the 10th annual Parade of Lights to begin. A feature of the parade was introduction of a statue of a World War I-era soldier, which Menz’ husband Bill was instrumental in having sculpted to be placed on the Company F monument in front of Medina Armory.

Lynne Menz, left, and daughters of Company F soldiers Kathy Whittleton Iorio and Cathy Fox ride on the float bearing the statue of a World War I-era soldier. Menz’ father Bill Menz had the idea and led fundraising to erect the monument and commission the statue.

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