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Friend of vets launches monument campaign

Ray Trillo thinks the borough owes its veterans more. The Castle Hill resident and retired Department of Corrections employee has designed a modern monument to Bronx veterans and wants to build it in Pelham Bay Park or Throggs Neck.

“I want to honor all the vets,” Trillo, 57, said. “These guys went to war. When we laid our heads down at night, they protected us.”

On Friday, January 22, Trillo met several veteran leaders at the Community Board 10 office on E. Tremont Avenue. He hopes to form a borough-wide monument committee.

Mark Bruh of the Warfront to the Homefront Foundation, Joseph Delgado of Disabled American Veterans, Leroy Archibald of the National Association for Black Veterans and Ken Wales of the Nam Knights attended, CB10 staff member Patrick Caruso said.

Trillo’s monument design features five towers fifteen feet high, one for each branch of the armed forces. It also features a digital display and an American flag. Trillo brought a model of the monument to Throggs Neck on January 22.

“I think [the monument] is a good idea,” Wales said. “But we need to establish a committee. We need to find funds.”

Trillo is not a veteran but has visited the James J. Peters VA Medical Center on W. Kingsbridge Road. Vietnam War vets stick together at the VA, he said. Korean War vets do, too. Trillo thinks the Bronx needs a monument where veterans of the services feel welcome.

Trillo thinks a monument would boost business in the Bronx; it would become a tourist destination, he said. The monument could even host a veterans’ museum. There are thousands of veterans’ sketches in storage in Washington, D.C., Trillo explained.

Wales has warmed to the museum proposal. The Bronx already boasts a veterans’ museum, thanks to World War II vet Joe Garofalo. Garofalo would get more visitors at Trillo’s monument than he does today at John Dormi and Sons Funeral Home on Morris Park Avenue.

“The vets need a spot besides the VA to talk and share stories,” Wales said.

The monument idea came to Trillo three years ago. He originally hoped to build in Soundview near the Bronx River Parkway. But Trillo has shifted his plans to Throggs Neck or Pelham Bay Park.

Trillo has presented his idea to Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson and Councilman James Vacca, he said. The monument would cost some $20 million to build, he estimated.

Reach reporter Daniel Beekman at 718 742-3383 or dbeekman@cnglocal.com

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