ELLSWORTH – At age 62, Randy Mosley is on the younger end of Ellsworth VFW Memorial Post 109’s average membership. It’s a good thing, as a strong back and arms were needed for his latest project: replacing the aging memorial at the base of the post’s flagpole.
Mosley, the post’s quartermaster and an Army veteran who served two tours in Afghanistan and one in the Persian Gulf, spent roughly 170 hours on the project. Helping him was Post 109 Junior Vice Commander Perry Mattson, 79, a Navy veteran from Surry.
“It looked so bad; it was all crumbling,” Mosley said of the previous memorial, which was dedicated in 1967 and rededicated in 1986.
The existing concrete blocks were mismatched and disintegrating, and the flagpole was tilting.
“I don’t like to use the word ‘disgrace’ because it was still a monument to our veterans, but it was in a sorry state,” Mosley said.
The new memorial is level and built to last. It features gray paver bricks and caps, solar lights for nighttime illumination and an easy step-up for veterans changing or caring for the flags. The post flies the American flag, POW-MIA flag and the third flag is rotated periodically to represent each military branch. Work on the new base began this spring and was finished in time for Memorial Day.
Mosley and Mattson kept costs down by doing the work themselves and taking advantage of the Lowe’s military discount.
“Sweat equity,” says Mosley. “Cheap labor,” quips Mattson.
The pair are among about 170 members of the Ellsworth post. Only a handful of those members are able to regularly lend a hand with maintenance of the building and grounds on upper Main Street. Some members have health issues while others are busy with work and family. The projects never end, however.
Next up is painting the bingo hall, improving the handicapped-accessible entrance and hopefully doing some patching and sealing in the parking lot.
With all the projects needing attention, why the flagpole base?
“That’s what we’re all about — country, patriotism, honoring the people who have served, honoring the people who will serve,” Mosley said. A beautiful, well-kept roadside memorial is a clear symbol of much-deserved respect, he said.
Both he and Mattson described their work on the project as a labor of love.