Boy Scout Troop 444 helps to revive local war memorial

Somer­ton’s World War I and World War II vet­er­ans have a bright new me­mori­al thanks to the mem­bers of a loc­al Boy Scout troop, along with sev­er­al gen­er­ous busi­ness­men and neigh­bors. The Somer­ton Civic As­so­ci­ation helped bring them all to­geth­er.

Boy Scout Wil­li­am Gibbs of Troop 444, based at Phil­adelphia Academy Charter School, ap­proached the SCA about a year ago seek­ing help on his Eagle Scout pro­ject. He wanted to re­hab­il­it­ate the stone vet­er­ans me­mori­al out­side the Somer­ton United Meth­od­ist Church, on Tre­vose Av­en­ue just north of Bustleton Av­en­ue. But he needed dona­tions of ma­ter­i­als and pro­fes­sion­al ser­vices to make the pro­ject hap­pen.

Dur­ing the Nov. 15 gen­er­al meet­ing of the SCA, Gibbs re­por­ted that the pro­ject is com­plete, al­though he and his troop in­tend to provide on­go­ing main­ten­ance and up­keep of the me­mori­al.

The pro­ject wouldn’t have been pos­sible, Gibbs ex­plained, without sev­er­al key con­trib­ut­ors.

North­east-based bronze spe­cial­ist Bob Thornton re-faced the plaques that list each of the me­mori­al­ized vet­er­ans. Thornton donated about $3,000 in labor and ma­ter­i­als. Tree spe­cial­ist Jonath­an Riggs trimmed and re­moved over­grown trees and shrubs, con­trib­ut­ing more than $1,000 worth of ser­vices.

Ed­ding­ton Sup­ply, a build­ing ma­ter­i­als sup­pli­er in Ben­s­alem Town­ship, con­trib­uted more than $1,000 of stone that the scouts used to land­scape around the monu­ment.

The scout troop also re­cog­nized the long­time ef­forts of area res­id­ent Compton Chase, who for years had been the primary care­taker of the me­mori­al, do­ing his best to mow the lawn and main­tain its ap­pear­ance.

Dan Lod­ise, chief of staff for state Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-170th dist.), presen­ted House cita­tions to each con­trib­ut­or in re­cog­ni­tion of their sup­port.

The monu­ment marks the tra­di­tion­al loc­a­tion of the re­view­ing stand in the an­nu­al Somer­ton Me­mori­al Day Parade. The parade was can­celled in 2011 for the first time in more than a dec­ade due to de­clin­ing con­tri­bu­tions and vo­lun­teer­ism. The SCA has not ruled out re-or­gan­iz­ing the parade for fu­ture Me­mori­al Day activ­it­ies.

In un­re­lated SCA busi­ness:

• The civic group voted in non-op­pos­i­tion to a car deal­er’s plan to use a com­mer­cial prop­erty at 10065-67 Sand­mey­er Lane as a ware­house for his whole­sale busi­ness.

At­tor­ney Shawn Ward said that his cli­ent hopes to store up to sev­en cars at a time in­side the 1,800-square-foot unit, which he will lease. The cli­ent is a re­tail car sales­man who is start­ing his whole­sale busi­ness. He plans to buy late mod­el, “high-end” used cars at auc­tions and from private own­ers. A couple times per month, he will truck them to Bay­onne, N.J., where they will be shipped to over­seas buy­ers.

Whole­sale busi­ness is not per­mit­ted un­der the prop­erty’s zon­ing, Ward said.

Some SCA mem­bers com­plained that the busi­ness would at­tract ad­di­tion­al un­wanted truck traffic to the neigh­bor­hood. Oth­er mem­bers noted that a few ex­tra trucks each month wouldn’t be a great bur­den, con­sid­er­ing the high volume of traffic already in the area. Also, the site is in an in­dus­tri­al dis­trict.

Ward re­por­ted that the Phil­adelphia In­dus­tri­al De­vel­op­ment Cor­por­a­tion has en­dorsed the vari­ance, provid­ing that the busi­ness stores all vehicles in­side and not in the park­ing lot or on the street. SCA mem­bers ap­proved the zon­ing vari­ance, 15-6.

• Kristin Sawka, man­ager of the Bustleton Branch Lib­rary, at 10199 Bustleton Ave., in­vited the com­munity to par­ti­cip­ate in many activ­it­ies hos­ted by the lib­rary. The lib­rary of­fers Eng­lish as a Second Lan­guage classes and Eng­lish con­ver­sa­tion groups, “storytime” days for grade school chil­dren, Over­eat­ers An­onym­ous meet­ings and “gam­ing” days each week.

On Thursday, Dec. 1, it will host an E-book open house for users of Kindle, Nook and sim­il­ar devices. On Thursday, Dec. 15, the Phil­adelphia Fed­er­al Cred­it Uni­on will present an “un­der­stand your cred­it” work­shop. For in­form­a­tion on all lib­rary events, vis­it the Face­book page “Bustleton Branch-Free Lib­rary of Phil­adelphia” or call 215-685-0472.

• The next Somer­ton Civic As­so­ci­ation meet­ing will be on Tues­day, Dec. 13, at 7:30 p.m., at Walk­er Lodge 306, 1290 Southamp­ton Road. ••

Re­port­er Wil­li­am Kenny can be reached at 215-354-3031 or

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