Two students from CCTI are honoring veterans by refurbishing broken grave markers, restoring them to their original condition. News 13s Dominic Barone shows us how history is being preserved in a machine shop.
John Poko from Summit Hill was fixing veteran grave markers that signify different wars. The tabs that hold them upright were breaking, so he asked Donivan Dailey, a precision machine student at CCTI, for help.
"He asked me if I knew of any other better solution to fix them. So I just brought them here, and me and a couple other kids figured out a way just to repair them and replicate the original tabs on the back." Dailey said.
The original markers are brass, but replacements are aluminum, so the goal is to restore them. Dailey asked Tanner Strohl to help create new tabs that can be welded on.
"We'll take it, mill it down to our sizes, then write a program on it to put our radius in, and just wait till when we do our project." Strohl said.
They also polish them up to remove oxidation. It takes about 30 to 40 minutes to machine a new tab, and a lot of the materials were donated by BTM Machining from down the street in Jim Thorpe.
"We're experienced enough to do it on our own. and fix stuff when we want to and when we can." Strohl said.
This isn't something they're doing locally, they're going to be taking their talents and trade to the SkillsUSA competition in Hershey, and hopefully Louisville, Kentucky for Nationals.
"It opens the door to opportunity. Students get a lot of scholarships, get a lot of leadership qualities, and it's just total opportunity for these students." said their instructor Kevin Kuehner.
Kuehner says the boys need to make a 60 page project to present at the competition in Hershey.
Dailey's goal is to spread their techniques far and wide.
"I'm hoping that other communities might pick up on it and start doping the same thing as me and my partners here." Dailey said.
No matter what happens in Hershey, they're glad they can honor the dead who served.
Strohl said, "Our veterans, they fought for this country. They done everything for this country they could do."
Dailey said, "It feels good and I feel that every veteran should be honored especially the ones that have fallen and this is just a way I can help out"
The SkillsUSA competition starts on April 10th, and we wish them both luck.