Restoration firm starts renovation project at WWII memorial in Mifflinburg

Apr. 2—MIFFLINBURG — A restoration firm from Washington County started the extensive $14,000 renovation of the Union County World War II Honor Roll on Monday.

Mike's Bronze Restoration, of Finleyville, spent a rainy Monday removing the panels on the memorial, not including the seven 18.49-square-foot bronze panels holding 2,260 names. The larger panels, which hold the names of those from Union County who served in World War II, were unable to be removed due to previous installation efforts.

"It feels pretty good they have the faith in me," said owner Michael Boso at the Honor Roll at Mifflinburg Community Park along North Fifth Street on the original site of the draft board in 1940. "I won't let them down. This is what we do and we try to be the best at it."

The smaller panels will be taken for refurbishment over the next few weeks to have the project finished before Memorial Day. The larger panels will be refurbished onsite during a good weather day, said Lewisburg resident Doug Walter, of the nonprofit, 501(c)(3) Union County Veterans Foundation.

Walter said the fundraising campaign brought in $19,000 to have the panels refurbished, resealed and reinstalled. The bronze panels are starting to streak and some of the panels are chipping.

"What's over and beyond will stay in the account for future costs and maintenance," said Walter. "The community was just incredible in supporting us. A big thank you to everybody."

Boso worked with Matthews Bronze and his own business for more than 35 years. He works with his wife Karen Boso and their son Michael Boso Jr.

"There's a lot of things," Michael Boso said about the project they work on. "There's statues. A lot of churches have statues. There are different people with sculptures in their yards."

Boso has done work with Gettysburg College as well as a tabernacle for a church in Cranberry Township in Butler County.

Boso said he would sandblast and remove the finish of the panels and then reaplly the background colors. The rain prevents the work from being done on-site.

"Bronze is porous," said Boso. "It absorbs moisture."

Walter said Drew Machamer and his father-in-law Al Hess were the original project coordinators. The monument was dedicated on Nov. 8, 2003, with a ceremony, and an annual ceremony has been held every Veterans Day since then.

The 2,260 names are on six large bronze panels and one smaller one with additional names not on the original creations. The memorial has an additional four bronze panels that represent the Vietnam War, the Korean War, the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, and the terrorist attack on the USS Cole on Oct. 12, 2000; six seals representing the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Merchant Marines; and draft board sign.