MEDINA — Something was missing Friday morning from in front of American Legion Post 202. Something big.
“It looks naked,” post Commander William Parker said. He and several others had just moved an anti-tank gun that has been outside the post’s Veterans Memorial Hall since it opened in the 1960s at 620 N. Broadway St.
The gun was loaded onto a flatbed truck and taken to Champs Auto Body on State Road for restoration.
“It’s just getting some TLC — much-needed TLC,” Parker said. The restoration should be done and the gun returned in about a month.
The gun was one of three weapons that came to Medina from Camp Perry in Ottawa County in 1947, legion member Ralph Waite said. One of the guns went to Uptown Park on Public Square. Two went to the American Legion, which then had a building on North Court Street. When the legion moved to North Broadway, it took one of the guns and gave the other to VFW Post 5137 at 3916 Pearl Road in Medina Township.
Army veteran Jim Smith of Cuyahoga Falls was on hand Friday to offer advice on restoring the gun.
In his free time in the last 30 years, he has restored several large military weapons and vehicles.
Smith looked at the gun’s trailer and saw a plaque dated 1941. But he said the gun portion is older. He explained World War I destroyer ships were armed with those types of guns, but they were taken off to be used as anti-tank weapons in World War II.
“This is history. If we don’t keep it and take care of it, we’re losing it,” Smith said.
But there’s more to the gun’s restoration than history.
“We have kids come here and play on it,” Parker said. He said he was worried about rust and loose parts on the gun.
Champs, which is donating the labor, will sandblast the gun to remove the old paint and rust.
“We’ll secure a few of the hatches to make sure kids don’t hurt themselves,” said Brian Sloyer, Champs vice president/operations. “Cars, semis, buses and boats — we’ve done a lot, but never a cannon.”
Even though they’ve received several in-kind donations for the restoration, such as tires from Medina’s North Gateway Tire and towing from Transcounty Towing.
Parker said the post is going to need some financial help to cover materials, such as paint.
Parker said donations may be sent to American Legion Post 202, P.O. Box 204, Medina, 44256 or call his office at (330) 722-1144.
Contact Maria Kacik Kula at (330) 721-4049 or firstname.lastname@example.org.