“All Gave Some, Some Gave All,” Local 593’s Wall of Honor

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Local 593, Aurubis Buffalo Inc., has made honoring our veterans a part of their everyday existence when entering their plant.  Working as a team with the company, they have created what they refer to as the “Wall off Honor.”  

“One of my proudest moments besides my life besides my late wife and kids, was serving this great country of ours. I feel and our members feel it’s our duty to honor all past and present veterans, the sacrifices made to make this country free. All of the members of our military deserve to be honored, what they’ve sacrificed, their lives and time, for us to be in the best country in the world, they deserve it, and that is what the “Wall of Honor” is all about,” Dean Washburn, President of Local 593.

Cary Eldridge, Veterans of Steel Coordinator for District 4, has dedicated a lot of his time to help grow the program in his district. “USW Veterans of Steel program does more than sing the song praise, we have committed countless resources that our veteran brothers, sisters, and their families can turn to for assistance. We cannot forget the sacrifices that they have endured. We honor our veterans not one day but every day. I’m so proud to be a part of this program and locals like 593 and all the work they do.”

“We owe a great debt to those who sacrifice to defend our freedom. The Veterans of Steel program seeks to honor and support our veterans and their families every day. Local 593 and Arubis Buffalo’s Wall of Honor exemplifies that spirit,” Director Vitale.

Wall of Honor – History
Mary Ann Stets
Wall of Honor Team Leader

In late July 2012, Brian Young, then Vice President of Operations, Aurubis Buffalo, Inc. proposed the idea of a permanent tribute to the service and sacrifices of our own employee veterans.  His simple idea grew into a monumental project second to none!

Over the next few months a small internal team of three dedicated employees --  Brian Young, Douglas Haak and Mary Ann Stets -- worked hard to develop the initial ideas working closely with the talented team of craftsmen at E B Ironart, a local company specializing in military artwork.  Once designed, additional employees Ron Lorich and Bob Goodrow participated in the actual wall construction. All of these individuals spent many hours putting everything together, but they didn't do it alone.  Many of the materials used in the fabrication of the Wall of Honor are made from Aurubis Buffalo’s own copper and brass, so in essence every one participated. What better way to showcase the kind of work done every day than to use our own products to pay tribute to some very brave individuals?

The message is clear: There is no way to fully reward the service and sacrifice of our nation's veterans.  By virtue of this wall, we acknowledge that EVERY DAY is Veterans Day.  Without our veterans, we would not have the freedom we take for granted. 

On March 12, 2013, we held the Dedication and unveiling of our Wall of Honor.  Retired Brigadier General Anthony Caruana was our emcee.  The Color Guard from the 914th Airlift Wing participated along with 15 other uniformed military personnel from the Military Entrance Processing Center and various other units in the area.  During our ceremony we were honored to present a personalized Honor and Remember flag to one of our employees, Peter Tycz, whose son, SSG Peter Tycz II was the first Western New Yorker killed in Post 9/11 service.

In the years since the dedication, we’ve updated our wall annually at Veterans Day.  A ceremony is held every year to honor all veterans and to honor recent retirees with their tags mounted on plaques with the words: “Thank you for your years of service to our country and to The Brass. Their original tags are replaced with the small brass tags that remain on the Wall of Honor.  In 2017, we presented another personalized Honor and Remember flag to one of our employees, Mark Warden whose son, Nick was killed in Syria that same year.

There are four panels in the design of our wall.  Each panel contains symbolic dog tags with the Veteran’s name, service and enlistment.  For employees we also include any military honors they earned.panel

The first panel contains the names of those who currently serve. 

Panels two and three contain the names of those with past service.  Of particular note is the span of service – at the time of dedication there was a tag on display for the Great, Great, Great, Great Grandfather of an employee whose service dates back to the Revolutionary War!

The final panel is dedicated to those who gave their lives in service to our country.  This panel displays the symbol of KIA, the soldier kneeling at the boots, helmet and weapon of the fallen clutching the dog the dog tags.  Our fallen family member’s name and KIA date and place is engraved into the star with two tags attached, one indicating service and a “shadow tag” listing the military accomplishments of the fallen soldier.

The overall theme of our wall is “All Gave Some, Some Gave All”.

Each branch of Service is represented by both medallion and flag.  With the exception of the POW/MIA and the Honor and Remember flags they are displayed in order of their incorporation, with our US Colors, of course, prominently displayed in the center.  We are especially honored to display the Honor and Remember medallion as it is one of a kind designed by IronArt with permission from the H&R organization to design and display it on our Wall.  The flags were all posted during our Dedication Ceremony March 23, 2013, by members of each corresponding service.  As they were posted a brief history of each flag was read.

gaveSymbolism is everywhere on our wall. There is meaning behind the different types of tags and stars.  Tags of brass indicate employees and tags of stainless indicate family members.  Large brass tags indicate current employees. The small brass tags are retired employees.  The blue stars represent those in current service, and the gold stars those that gave their lives in service, countless names we may never know, but to whom we are sincerely grateful.  The poppies prominently displayed in the 4th panel represent the blood shed on all battlefields throughout history. Also, in the talons of the Eagle are three poppies representing our three family members sacrifice as he continues to carry their memory.  Of note, the poppies used were all hand made locally by disabled veterans.

The design of our Wall of Honor is such that it will always “look” full but is easily rearranged to make room for more Veterans.  It is updated annually for Veterans Day at which time we hold a ceremony in honor of our Veterans.  All employees are invited to attend.  Retirees are invited back to receive an engraved plaque in their honor with their tag from the Wall mounted on it with the words “Thank you for your service to Our Country and to The Brass.”  In place of their original tag on the wall a small brass tag is mounted and will remain in perpetuity.  It is only the fourth panel that we hope never to have to “make room” for more.

 

 

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