On their way home from church Sunday, Marjorie Blood and Beatrice Lord stopped at Lebanon’s municipal building to admire the preparation work for a monument to the town’s Civil War soldiers.

Instead of the attractive expanse of new sod that they expected, the sisters found muddy ruts in the grass and tire tracks from spinouts in the parking lot. “I was flabbergasted,” Blood said Monday.

The dedication of the new monument – a granite boulder bearing a bronze plaque with names of Lebanon’s 174 Civil War soldiers – was planned for Memorial Day. Volunteers had installed donated sod for the event.

Now, the York County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the matter, a cash reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible, and community members are banding together to fix the damage.

Volunteers were expected to finish their repairs Monday night. Tuckahoe Turf Farms in Berwick – the donor of the sod – called the town early Monday to provide two more pallets of sod.

Volunteers planned to meet the delivery, remove the damaged sod and put in the new sod. Lebanon Rescue planned a cookout to feed the volunteers.

“It’s quite amazing to see the community come together,” said Selectman Jason Cole. “Everybody knows this memorial was big for the town.”

Cole and the other two selectmen, Robert Frizzell and Ronal Patch, decided to offer the reward personally. Others have decided to contribute to the reward. The total wasn’t yet clear Monday, but Cole thought it would be about $500.

It took about 60 work hours by rescue volunteers to put in the original sod. It was one of their community service projects for National EMS Week. The project was completed Thursday night.

Two vehicles were involved in the vandalism, said Sgt. Kyle Kassa. One had the tread characteristic of mud or off-road tires and was probably a pickup truck. The second was a smaller vehicle, he said.

Both were spinning their tires, but it appeared that only the truck damaged the lawn, Kassa said. At one point, the truck came within a few feet of the municipal building.

The memorial has its roots in a research project by Blood and Lord. The sisters, longtime members of the Lebanon Historical Society, started researching a book about the town’s Civil War soldiers about a decade ago. Their book, “Lebanon in the Civil War,” was first printed last year.

The idea for the monument came to them during the project. As with the book, the monument benefited from the help of friends and neighbors.

Volunteers used their equipment to move the boulder from the sisters’ farm to the municipal building, the land was provided by the town, the historical society sponsored the project, and neighbors made donations.
Monday’s effort added to all of that.

“I’m astounded,” Blood said. “Everyone is being so helpful and so willing to do something to help. It’s a great work they’re doing, really.”

Staff Writer Ann S. Kim can be contacted at 791-6383 or at: [email protected]