IRVONA — A group in Irvona is looking for some assistance from the community to help it realize a long-time dream.
For several years, Irvona Borough Holiday Decorating Committee has been working to establish a monument at Irvona’s Elderberry Park — raising capital to pay for the memorial a few hundred dollars at a time by using proven money-makers such as food sales, raffles and other fundraisers at events in Irvona — such as the annual Irvona Yard Sale.
The monument, expected to cost approximately $10,000, would be created of two approximately 5-to-6-foot high stone pillars on a base with a section of metal from the World Trade Center connecting the two pillars. It will be engraved with information about the incident and former borough resident Mary Ellen Tiesi.
Tiesi lost her life when the World Trade Center’s South Tower crumbled following the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center buildings on Sept. 11, 2001. She is believed to be the only Clearfield County resident killed in the incident.
Tiesi worked on the 105th floor of the South Tower. After the plane hit the South Tower early on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, she was exiting the tower, via the stairs, with a friend when they stopped to wait for Tiesi’s boss. Tiesi’s friend and her boss, who had a heart condition, opted to take the elevator while Tiesi continued on the stairs. Her friend and boss made it out of the tower, Tiesi did not.
Through tremendous effort by the late borough Mayor John “P.J.” Patterson, they received the piece of twisted steel from the World Trade Center structures. Patterson, council and the committee originally hoped to install the piece of steel near the bridge on state Route 53, named in Tiesi’s memory, but found it was unable to do so because of various restrictions.
Since that time, the IBHDC has taken up the effort as part of its work to beautify the community. According to committee members, it has paid a $2,500 deposit on the stone columns but needs to raise the balance so that it can have the stones delivered, set and engraved. There will also be costs for protective fencing, landscaping and lighting, once the memorial is completed.
Committee members said they have written to state and federal legislators inquiring about the possibility of grant funding to help cover the costs of the memorial but have not had replies from any of them.
The committee also plans to continue raising funds and has an upcoming raffle and collects scrap metal to sell, but said to date, progress to raise the money for the memorial has been slow.
“Because of all that P.J. did and to remember Mary Ellen and Sept. 11 that’s why we are working to make sure this becomes a reality,” IBHDC Secretary Cate Hutton said. “We want people to know we remember and that we are standing strong here in Irvona. This memorial is a good way for people to see that.”
The committee is hoping the community would agree and lend its support. Donations may be sent to the IBHDC at 316 Hoop Up Rd., Irvona, PA 16656.
The IBHDC has been in existence since 2005. It decorates the bridge, an open store front on Rose Street and the park for Easter, Christmas and Independence Day.
Members of the committee are Sandy Smith, president; Norma Dudurich, vice president; Hutton, secretary; and Wendy Baer, Donna Morrison, Dan Smith, Dan Dudurich, Kathy Keith and Dolly Ninosky.