Williamson’s masonry seniors spent three days completing a very worthwhile community service project recently while also getting some practical hands-on experience and, in a way, becoming a part of American history.
The project was constructing a base for a statue of General George Washington praying at Washington Crossing National Cemetery in Bucks County. The students, working under the leadership of Peter Zwolak 0W7, director of construction technology-masonry, laid a block foundation, poured concrete, and put in the stone facade. The base was designed earlier by Colin Suter 2W1 when he was a masonry student.
Also working on the base is Brendan Kneafsey 0W9 and his masonry company, BJK Masonry and Restoration of Havertown.
Zwolak said, “It was great to have the students build something that will last and be a part of history. The location of the statue is close to where Washington crossed the Delaware River and defeated the enemy during the Revolutionary War. Years from now these students can show their children what they built. And Colin Suter designed a base for a statue of George Washington – what an honor!”
Zwolak also pointed out another experience the students had while working on the project. Several times a day they heard taps played as a veteran was laid to rest. “It was very sobering for them.”
The project was initiated by the Guardians of the National Cemetery Foundation with the Department of Veterans Affairs, the National Cemetery Association, and Washington Crossing National Cemetery. The base is three feet tall and Washington will be kneeling in the 9-foot statue. Williamson became involved in the project at the suggestion of John C. Heenan, treasurer of the Guardians of the National Cemetery and chairman of the Monument Committee. John Heenan and his wife Bernadette are major supporters of Williamson. As members of the Legacy Society, they have established the John and Bernadette Heenan Family Scholarship, funded the expansion of the Clara Schrenk Chapel with The Thomas and Agnes Heenan Chapel Mezzanine, and are members of the Wanamaker Society.