Blue Star Memorial Garden Dedicated

On a glorious sunny Saturday afternoon, the Fenton History Center hosted the dedication of their Blue Star Memorial Garden. The program was the culmination of the Fenton being designated as a Blue Star Museum and a year and a half of planning and hard work. Jane Babinsky, the director at the Fenton History Center shared the vision and work that brought this project to reality.

The Blue Star Marker and Garden project began with an idea from playing my pipes at a dedication ceremony many years ago for a garden in Ohio. I thought that a Blue Star Memorial Garden would be fitting for the Fenton History Center because Governor Reuben E. Fenton was known as “The Soldier’s Friend” during the Civil War and after the City of Jamestown purchased the property in 1919 it became the “Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Park.” The building became a place where various veteran groups could hold their meetings and during WWII it housed the draft board.

A plan for the garden was created by Master Gardener, Pat Martonis. A grant was received from CRCF and funding from the Blue Star Mothers NY4. The Southern Tier USMC Association gave us funding for maintenance of the garden. We collected plastic to recycle to receive the bench from the Trex Company. National Chairperson, Candace Wells helped with the paperwork and walked me through the steps necessary to receive the official Marker.

Without the sponsorship of the Jamestown Garden Club, help from the City Parks Department under the direction of Dan Stone, the Blue Star Mothers who helped with planting, Master Gardener Pat Martonis, the staff and volunteers of the Fenton History Center who maintain the garden, we would not have been able to pursue this project. Thank you to all who supported this project; it really did take a village to build our Blue Star Memorial Garden.

And so, after all the challenging work, on Saturday May 18, President NY4 Blue Star Mothers, Susan Rowley led the dedication program which opened with a stirring rendition of Scotland the Brave and the Marines Hymn by the 96th Highlanders Pipes and Drums. The Dwyer Color Guard presented our Nations Colors. Elora Watkins, a Maple Grove Junior sang our National Anthem followed by the Pledge of Allegiance led by Kathy Collver 1st VP Blue Star Mothers NY4.
Following an invocation by Rev. Willian Blair, USN Ret. of the New Creation Assembly of God Church, Ms. Rowley introduced honored guests and officials: NYS Senator George Borello, NYS Assemblyman Andy Goodell, County Executive PJ Wendell and Jamestown Mayor Kim Ecklund. Keynote Speaker Greg Carlson Major USAF Ret. Director of the Veterans Service Agency Chautauqua County reflected on the role of the Blue Star Mothers as the loving and life-giving women who support the young men and women who choose to serve and protect their country. The Patriot Guard Riders Motorcycle group provided a patriotic background for the garden with the flag of each branch of service flanked by the American flag.

After a history of the Blue Star Memorial Markers by Jane Babinsky, director of the Fenton History Center and a recognition of the Blue Star Families of NY4, Kathleen Collver and Dan Stone Parks and Recreation Director unveiled the Marker. The 96th Highland Pipes and Drums performed Amazing Grace as a tribute to the flowers followed by our Benediction and the playing of TAPS by Michelle Battaglia, Band Director Falconer HS, USN Musician Ret. The playing of Green Hills and The Battles Over by the 96th Highlanders Pipes and Drums completed the program.

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