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Memorial for Medal of Honor recipient restored after vandalism

July 24, 2020 Jaime DeJesus
Memorial for Medal of Honor recipient restored after vandalism
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A memorial to a Medal of Honor recipient that was destroyed by vandals two weeks ago has been restored.

With the help of a retired Marine, NYC Parks and elected officials, the damage to Col. Donald Cook Square, at Caton and McDonald Aves., has been repaired and the surrounding area is being beautified.

Photos courtesy of Ed Schloeman

“Once I was informed by the neighborhood that the original memorial was taken down, I contacted Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Martin Maher,” said retired Chief Master Sgt. Edward Schloeman. “Marty arranged to get a new, sturdier memorial built and we had Assemblymember Robert Carroll and State Senator Kevin Parker contribute to the new memorial. I also put together a gofundme page to raise $4,000 to provide additional landscaping materials, like flowers and shrubs.”

The memorial’s ribbon-cutting eight years ago was attended by hundreds of people.

“Cook is an MIA/POW from the Vietnam War whose remains were never recovered,” said Schloeman. “His heroic actions during his time as a POW earned him our country’s highest award for bravery. There is also a Navy vessel named after him, USS Donald Cook.”

According to defense.gov, Cook was born in Brooklyn in 1934. He worked summers at a naval shipyard while in college and graduated in 1956. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps Reserve and also worked in intelligence and interrogation before volunteering to go to Vietnam in December 1964.

The Viet Cong reported that Cook died of malaria in December 1967.

“The neighborhood was galvanized by the need to keep this Medal of Honor recipient’s name in the quality of a memorial that he deserves,” said Schloeman.

A rededication ceremony will be held in November.


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