Upton Monument to have a little more spangle this year and in coming years
No flags, no wreath, no flowers -- Helen Batchelor looked at the Gen. Emory Upton Monument a couple of summers ago and thought Batavia's most noteworthy war hero, and all the veterans and war dead he represents, deserved something better.
On her own -- Batchelor is not associated with a local veterans group, but is on the board of the Holland Land Office Museum -- Batchelor decided to do something about Upton's "nakedness," as she put it.
She planted spring bulbs this year and through Legislator Hollis Upson managed to get a $20 donation each from each of the county legislators for new flags. That only left the issue of the wreath.
One evening Batchelor ran into local funeral director and veteran Ron Konieczny at Alex's Place and he asked her what she had been up to recently, and she told him about her Upton Monument project.
"What can I do to help?" she remembers him asking. "We need a wreath," she said. "He said, 'I'll take care of it,' and he did. He called Kathy at The Enchanted Florist and we have a wreath."
The wreath is now officially in place and will stay affixed to the monument until Christmas, when a holiday wreath will replace it, and for every year for the rest of his life, Konienczny said, there will be an annual wreath and a Christmas wreath placed on the monument -- all at his own expense.
"The wreath is a symbol," Konienczny said. "It has no beginning. It has no end. And this is how we remember the deaths (of our military service personnel)."
Pictured, from left, are Upson, Konienczny, Nancy Konienczny and Batchelor.