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Saturday, July 5, 2008 (Pittsburgh (PA) Tribune-review)

Gettysburg Memorials' Endowment
By Mike Cronin

About a year and a half ago, Democratic state Rep. Harry Readshaw of Carrick reached a goal of raising $168,000 to renovate Civil War monuments in Gettysburg National Military Park.

"Now we're raising $400,000 to endow the monuments so future generations don't have to be concerned about the problem," Readshaw said. "We're about halfway there."

An endowment would provide a self-sustaining fund to keep the monuments in good shape, Readshaw said

A newspaper story about the battlefield monuments' deterioration about 12 years ago motivated Readshaw to begin collecting money for them, he said. He and his legislative assistant, Kathi Schue, organized events including road races and motorcycle rides to raise the money.

Their activities were so successful that officials from the nonprofit Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association contacted them, and Schue ultimately became that organization's president.

"You know, you get in for a little and wind up with a lot," Schue said about becoming the head of one of the nation's oldest battlefield preservation organizations. Founders began the association in 1959.

The endowment drive has amassed about $250,000, Schue said. The goal is $416,000.

"School kids throughout the state have been our biggest contributors," Schue said. James Byrd Elementary School in Shippensburg collected more than $10,000 for the monuments in 2000. Governor Mifflin Intermediate School in Shillington in Berks County has raised money for 10 years.

Local residents such as Whitehall Councilman Philip J. Lahr, 72, make Readshaw's and Schue's job easier. Lahr sold a painting that features an American flag with three Union soldiers for $2,000 and donated that for Gettysburg monument rehabilitation. A copy of that painting sold for another $3,000, he said.

"That's really hallowed ground up there," Lahr said. "We owe it to those soldiers who died to preserve the flag that we have today."

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