A Patchogue artist and U.S. Army veteran is leading an initiative called Lights on Veterans, which will spotlight Long Islanders who served in the military with commemorative stones at the base of lampposts throughout the village.
Donations are being collected to engrave and embed 12-by-12 blocks that will be placed alongside 88 posts along Main Street and Ocean Avenue, according to Dave Rogers. (Click herefor a map.)
The goal is to set up two stones at each post, he says.
For $250, donors will have the opportunity to specialize the stones by including the veteran’s name, rank, branch of service, as well as any additional information such as service awards or any wars fought.
Proceeds will go toward supporting Patchogue veterans’ organizations that include VFW Post 2913, American Legion Post 269 and AmVets Post 111.
The idea for Lights on Veterans can be traced to Patchogue’s mayor, Paul Pontieri.
“[The mayor] wanted to find a way to honor our veterans,” said Rogers.
Initial plans were to affix signs onto the actual light posts, but Rogers’ stone idea was a more cost-effective and realistic approach.
“It’s just a great opportunity to honor our vets,” said Pontieri, “to give those in the community the opportunity to place a marker in the village for the veterans.”
Rogers’ passion for the initiative stems from the idea that not all veterans get acknowledged for their service. Some soldiers don’t get the opportunity to serve in an active war, but their sacrifices should still be remembered, he said.
“[Some service members] don’t get the chance to get a Purple Heart, but they still have given a lot back,” he said.
In addition to the individual stones, Rogers is also asking for funds to create four large placards that will honor the Army, Marines, Coast Guard, Navy and Air Force.
These larger placards will sit at the four corners of Main Street and South Ocean Avenue and cost around $1,000 each.
Rogers says any extra money would be appreciated.
“If people people can donate $50 or $100 and that would be great,” he said.
If you’d like to recognize a veteran, you can find the application for a stone on the Lights on Veterans website.
“This is a great program to honor veterans who do give so much back,” Rogers urged.
Top: A sample photo of what the engraved stones might look like. (courtesy)