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Milton park vandalism frustrates veteran

MILTON — A local World War II veteran who helped create a park to honor fellow service members who served overseas is frustrated to see vandals at work in the downtown.

Paul Carlson, 93, who fought in the Army Air Force over the Pacific, said this is the second time someone damaged the memorial granite benches, which had been donated by residents, at Veterans Park along White Mountain Highway.

Carlson said the first bench was damaged in September, but members of Milton's Public Works Department were able to repair it. "We were able to put one of them together, but the other one was completely destroyed," Carlson said, adding the bench, which sat on a granite slab near the World War II honor roll, and one of the two flower urns at the park were broken beyond repair in October.

"It bothers me that anyone would get any enjoyment out of this," Carlson said.

Carlson, a longstanding member of Milton's Veterans of Foreign Ward Memorial Post 8393, said he's had to cut back on his involvement even though he currently serves as chaplain for the organization.

"I did a lot of work with the post, and I was instrumental in getting the Veterans Park there," Carlson said, adding he's helped care for the park for the past nine years.

Carlson contacted police about the broken benches, but he has not heard if any progress has been made in identifying the vandals.

Police Chief Richard Krauss said police continue to investigate the matter.

"Unfortunately we believe it was juveniles," Krauss said, adding this is common, especially at the beginning of the school year.

As the park is in a high-traffic area, Krauss encourages anyone who may have seen something suspicious to contact police at 652-4515.

As it will cost about $700 to replace the bench, Carlson said a fund was recently started — with a $25 donation from a local resident. Anyone interested in helping can mail donations — with "bench replacement" in the memo section — to Milton VFW Post No. 8393, c/o Robert Graham, P.O. Box 575, Milton 03851.

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