SCRANTON — Family and friends of a fallen soldier from Scranton were shocked this week to find out that part of a memorial made in his honor was stolen.
They believe the bronze plaque was swiped, then scrapped.
National Guard Sgt. Paul Welby returned from Kuwait two weeks ago, but this wasn’t the welcome home he was expecting. The 9/11 memorial he helped create in honor of his fallen friend was damaged and missing a key piece.
“For someone to take it and scrap it, it’s just absolutely ridiculous,” he said.
Friends and family of Sgt. Jan Argonish from Scranton raised money and designed the 9/11 memorial at Nay Aug Park and donated it in Argonish’s memory. A bronze plaque shaped like the Pentagon was swiped from the memorial sometime in the last week. Welby thinks it was stolen and scrapped for money.
“He gave everything, and it’s a little bit that we can give back to the community and to the city. And for someone in the city or in the surrounding area even to do this is just absolutely disgusting. hopefully we can find out who did it,” said Sgt. Welby.
The 9/11 memorial is part of a larger monument at Nay Aug Park honoring people who have died for our country. Volunteers spruced it up this summer but didn’t notice anything was wrong until a few days ago.
“We got a picture yesterday to show what the city’s been doing with the mulch and everything and when I looked at it I said ‘there’s something missing,’” Talia Walsh said.
Walsh noticed the missing bronze plaque and started searching scrap yards in the area. So far, nothing’s turned up. She thinks the metal from the plaque would get only a few dollars at the scrap yard but she and her friends raised close to $1,000 to put the memorial up two years ago.
“It’s just frustrating to know someone would go that low to steal it for a minimal amount of money compared to the sacrifice of losing someone’s life, not just Jan’s but 9/11 too. It’s frustrating,” Walsh said.
Anyone with information about the stolen plaque is asked to call Scranton police at 570-348-4134