Military veterans, first responders and educators were recently honored with a “Peace Pole” in Sanfordville Elementary School’s Peace Garden. A brief dedication ceremony was recently held.
After basic needs, peace is often considered mankind’s most sought-after human condition. A few years ago, former BOCES Superintendent and Rotary District Governor Bill Bassett urged Rotarians to erect “Peace Poles” in their communities. Several dozen have been “planted” at schools and parks in the mid-Hudson as well as tens of thousands more in 180 countries. The six-feet tall, four-sided polls are inscribed with a peace statement in eight languages.
With funds donated by the Warwick Valley Rotary Club and the estate of Lillian “Banjo Lil” Blaikner, long-time local entertainer, Warwick business owner, Pine Island Elementary School PTA president, and wife of the late WVCSD grounds supervisor Bob Blaikner, two Peace Poles were purchased.
An eight-inch by 10-inch bronze plaque says: “Warwick Rotarians & Banjo Lil Blaikner Donate This Peace Pole to Honor Our Educators, Military Veterans and First Responders for Their Vital Services.”
A second Warwick Peace Pole was also dedicated this year in Veterans Memorial Park. Co-chairs of the Peace Pole Project are Rotarians John Buckley, retired Warwick Valley High School principal, and Stan Martin, vice commander of Warwick American Legion Post 214. Also participating in the Sanfordville ceremony were Superintendent of Schools Dr. David Leach, Sanfordville Principal Johnna Maraia, WVCSD School Board Member David Eaton, Warwick Valley Rotary Club President Dr. Edwin Wiley, WVCSD School Resource Officer Katie Orosco and Tom Brennan, American Legion Post 214 third vice commander.