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U.S. CONGRESSMAN BILL JOHNSON Proudly Representing Eastern and Southeastern Ohio

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U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson helps out at Friendship Park in Smithfield

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Smithfield, May 3, 2016 | comments
The Friendship Park Military Museum was bustling with activity Monday after the Jefferson County Veterans Association called for a work day to renew the look of the military equipment at Friendship Park. Working along with the members was U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Marietta.
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Steubenville Herald-Star
By Esther McCoy
Published May 3, 2016

The Friendship Park Military Museum was bustling with activity Monday after the Jefferson County Veterans Association called for a work day to renew the look of the military equipment at Friendship Park. Working along with the members was U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Marietta.

He was aboard the M60 A3 tank using equipment to remove a film of rust and to pressure wash the large piece of equipment. This is part of his pledge to volunteer 100 hours in 2016 to veterans groups across Ohio. He was living up to that promise by doing something he had never attempted before - renewing the look of a large piece of military equipment.

Removing the coat of rust that had accumulated since the tank was placed at Friendship Park wasn't the easiest task he had ever done, but he said he was raised on a farm and had to learn to make things work.

"If I could pick cotton and tobacco, drive a mule and do manual labor, I can do this," he said while seated just above the traction wheels of the tank while sanding.

"My 26 1/2 years in the Air Force has taught me adaptability and keeping things moving forward," Johnson said of the tasks he had done and will do while completing his pledge.

He and Kevin Smart, veteran outreach coordinator, went through some of the volunteer pledge tasks to date, with Johnson serving food at a VFW, playing board games at an assisted living home in Salem, serving breakfast to veterans in Canfield, passing out food to veterans in Canfield and serving lunch to the Southern District Gallopolis VFW. Next week, he will visit North Elementary in Harrison County to help pupils write letters to veterans.

Helping with the renovation of the equipment was Rick Parker of Weirton, who served with the 4th Armored Division in Germany and is a member of the Brotherhood of Tankers. The group travels to help with the renovation of military equipment. Parker said he has given and he had given members advice about the use of paint and the type of work needed.

Johnson asked Parker for advice on his work, wanting to make sure it was acceptable, and was given a big thumbs up.

Dan Halliburton from Johnson's Marietta office was present and was given a tour of the Memorial Wall, the early airplane named the Wisconsin and M110 A-2 self-propelled 8-inch Howitzer.

Members working at the site included Commander Frank Santa, Ed Waldman, Lamont McCoy, Tony Phillippi, Bob Olexia, Rick Nale and Paul and Charles Greene. Mayor Diana Holcombe also attended.

Members plan for the park to be in tip-top shape for the Memorial Day service on May 30.

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