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Ontario Construction News staff writer
The Sarnia-Lambton Building Construction and Trades Council recently spearheaded a campaign to restore the “Tommy” Statue after it was vandalized in April.
Trades Council members, construction workers and companies joined the campaign, donating money, supplies and time to restore the statue and cenotaph in time for Remembrance Day.
John Swart, president of the Sarnia-Lambton Building Construction and Trades Council and his members represent all construction trades from operating engineers to insulators and laborers, raised over $15,000 to remove, repair and replace the statue.
Bluewater Power Local 530 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Laborers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA) Local 1089, and the Sarnia Lambton Construction and Building Trades Council are contributed to the estimated $100,000 lighting and surveillance equipment project that also includes the adjacent Sarnia Library.
The bronze Tommy statue was originally dedicated in 1922 and stands in Sarnia’s Veterans’ Park, as a tribute to soldiers who sacrificed during the First World War.
In April vandals pried the bronze rifle from the Tommy soldier. Mayor Mike Bradley called the incident “a stinging slap in the face” to veterans, including the hundreds of fallen soldiers, sailors and airmen whose names are recorded on the Cenotaph.
He spoke of the community’s “sadness and outrage.”
Royal Canadian Legion Vice President Les Jones said it was an incomprehensible crime on “an empty tomb honouring our brave men and women.”
Repairing the vandalized statue is part of an overall restoration of the Cenotaph being done by the Sarnia Historical Society in tandem with the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 62.
A 100th anniversary re-dedication of the cenotaph in the park just days after a repaired statue of “Tommy” was reinstalled atop the monument, including a new bronzed rifle.