By Jim Krencik
Medina Journal-Register — ALBION — At the 50th anniversary of the Korean War, local veterans were celebrated at a ceremony dedicating a howitzer outside the Veterans Service Agency in Albion. Orleans County is renewing its efforts to secure a similar monument for local Vietnam War veterans.
Orleans County Joint Veterans Council Executive Director Paul Fulcomer has been trying for six years to secure a Bell UH-1, the “Huey” helicopter used throughout the Vietnam War, from a Department of the Army surplus equipment facility in Michigan.
“It would be a nice tribute for our veterans and the helicopter pilots,” Fulcomer said Wednesday at a meeting with county legislators. “A majority of our veterans were in Vietnam and I had hoped to have it in hand for the fiftieth anniversary.”
The issue isn’t the cost — as the Joint Veterans Council is willing to pay for transport.
It isn’t space — there’s room next to the howtizer and recently-replaced flag pole.
And it isn’t desire — Fulcomer noted that there are at least a half-dozen men who flew the helicopters still in Orleans County.
It’s getting off a waiting list.
Fulcomer said he has been in contact with the supplier since 2007. At first, he was told the Joint Veterans Council didn’t meet the qualifications for such a request. The county stepped in, submitting an application only to be told none were available.
“I emailed them in March, we were still on the list,” Fulcomer said. “In November, they asked if we wanted to be on another three-year waiting list.”
Fulcomer told legislators that he is re-engaging in that task, but help from both the county and its representatives is needed. Legislature Chairman David Callard and other six legislators agreed.
“We need to have a coordinated effort,” Callard said.
“We’re going to have to go higher, I know these helicopters are available,” Fulcomer said.