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Nov 13, 2017 4:25 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Westhampton Beach Village Board Planning Patriotic Memorial To Andon, Military

Preliminary plans for the Westhampton Beach flag memorial. KATE RIGA
Nov 14, 2017 5:15 PM

The Westhampton Beach Village Board is laying the groundwork for a patriotic memorial that it hopes to unveil by next Memorial Day to honor those who served in the military, with a special acknowledgment to former mayor and World War II veteran Arma “Ham” Andon.

Inspired by a memorial she saw in Saratoga, New York, Westhampton Beach Mayor Maria Moore said this week that the village should have its own veterans’ tribute. Though the plan is still in its preliminary stages, the Village Board is working alongside members of American Legion Post 834 of Westhampton and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5350 in Westhampton Beach to dream up an honor worthy of the former mayor, who died in December 2016, as well as those who served in every branch of the military.

So far, the group is planning to construct a memorial with six flags representing each branch of the military—Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard and Merchant Marines—surrounding an elevated American flag in the center. Each flag would have a small stone pedestal at its base, and six external stones adorned with each military branch and its respective crest. The base for the American flag would be dedicated to Mr. Andon.

The memorial will likely be placed in front of the Village Marina on Library Avenue, according to the mayor.

Though it is still early in the process, Ms. Moore said American Legion representatives are estimating that the undertaking would cost $9,825, and that figure includes flags, poles, landscaping and plaques. She stressed that the final cost would be higher as that estimate did not include costs for the American flag, pole and a retaining wall. The American Legion has already pledged $5,400 to the cause, Ms. Moore noted.

Officials with the American Legion did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Westhampton Beach Trustee Brian Tymann, the village’s point person on the project, added that fellow trustee Rob Rubio had already pledged $2,500 toward the project, while Marcus Stinchi of Stinchi Landscaping in Westhampton Beach has offered to design the memorial, as well as to contribute to the masonry and landscaping. Mr. Tymann himself said that he would partner with Mr. Stinchi to cover the landscaping costs.

“At the risk of sounding overly optimistic, I'd anticipate very little cost to the Legion,” Mr. Tymann said on Monday. “From my perspective, something as important as this shouldn't be remotely hindered by relatively low costs of $10,000, or even a little more.

“I will work hard to gather more donors,” he continued. “It's the least we can do to show our gratitude to those who have fought for us.”

Mr. Rubio, who owns Rubio Premier Motors in Westhampton, said he made his contribution out of appreciation for Mr. Andon. “Mayor Andon was a special man who served his community and country,” Mr. Rubio said on Monday. “I want to give back to someone who always put others above himself.”

Mr. Andon devoted his entire life to public service. After his distinguished service in World War II, where he earned awards including two Purple Hearts with Cluster and a Presidential Unit Citation, he moved back to his hometown of Westhampton Beach, serving as mayor from 1986 until 1994. He also served as president of the Westhampton Beach School Board, commander of the Veterans of Foreign War Post 5350 and commissioner of the Westhampton Beach Fire District.

“We need to create a fitting tribute to this great man and mayor,” Ms. Moore said.

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Wonderful idea and tribute. Thank you!
By Robert I Ross (238), Hampton Bays on Nov 14, 17 10:28 AM
1 member liked this comment
How about adding Peace Corps volunteers to the memorial.
By tenn tom (199), remsenburg on Nov 14, 17 12:41 PM
While admirable, they're not members of the military which this monument is intended to honor.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (4124), HAMPTON BAYS on Nov 14, 17 12:53 PM
This is a well-deserved honor for Ham, and all who have served to protect Our Country! ����❤️����
By Denis Yuen (10), Southampton on Nov 15, 17 8:31 AM
1 member liked this comment