WEST LAFAYETTE -- What started out as a basic civic community project, has ended up a labor of love.
Marty and Tammy Glazier, residents of West Lafayette, say that's exactly what it is, too. The Glaziers have been tending to the lawn, and doing landscaping at the Troop Train Memorial Park for the past 14 years, all on their own accord.
Marty Glazier said the park, located at the intersection of Kirk and Railroad streets, is not a municipal park. He said it is funded entirely by local individuals and businesses. While the village does pay for water and electric at the site, the park relies on volunteers to keep it going and looking its best.
Marty Glazier said the oblisk shaped monument was constructed at the site in 1990 and is made of black granite that was mined in Pennsylvania. The keystone, signifies the symbol of the home state (Pennsylvania) of the 33 national guardsmen that were victims of the tragic accident that foggy September morning. The accident occurred just before dawn, Sept. 11, 1950, that is located about half a mile from the village's east corporation line. The stretch of railroad is situated north of what locals know as the Shurtz farm.
Besides the monument, the park also features another significant piece that relates to the tragedy, a Howitzer cannon. Visitors may notice that the cannon is pointed north. Marty Glazier said there are two details of interest that are significant about the cannon. The first interest is that the cannon is similar to the type of cannons that the Pennsylvania National Guard 109th Field Artillery battalion would have used in 1950. The second interest is that the cannon is pointed towards the former Moore Enameling Company site. Marty Glazier said Moore Enameling was manufacturing the metal shell casings for the service at that time.
Marty Glazier said that several years after the monument was dedicated that they just started coming over and mowing the site, and trimming around the monument.
"We just kept at it on a regular basis," he said. "We don't do it for any type of recognition."
He said they have an interest, as well as respect for the men who were victims of the tragedy. They added that they have met and still keep in touch with several surviving troop members and families that reside in Pennsylvania since the inception of the park.
Coshocton County Chamber of Commerce recently awarded the Glaziers with a community improvement award, an award that is periodically given out to local citizens that have done a project or other type of improvement for their community. The award signifies recognition and a token of appreciation according to Chamber Executive Director Carol Remington.
The Glaziers said, "We are honored, but it's really about remembrance for us. We do it in honor of the 33 guardsmen, and my Dad."
Marty Glazier said he was five years old when the accident occurred. His Dad, Raymond Glazier, a World War II veteran, was the Mayor of West Lafayette at the time.
"Not many individuals are left that had involvement with the tragedy. It's part of the village's history. We don't want people to forget it," he said.
Marty Glazier said this Sept. 11 will be the 60th anniversary and a special memorial is in the planning stages.