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Group Of Southwestern Pa. Veterans Create Space For War Hero To Be Honored

CHARLEROI, Pa. (KDKA) -- Under the morning rain Thursday, about 15 people set out to honor an American hero.

"Compared to what he did, I'll take riding in the rain," Scott Honsaker said.

He learned about Charleroi native Mitchell Paige and his story while on a motorcycle trip. The Mon Valley native fought in WWII. Paige is credited with single-handedly holding off a Japanese regiment in the bloody Battle of Guadalcanal.

Paige was later awarded the Medal of Honor.

"Basically changed the Battle of Guadalcanal itself and possibly the war in the Pacific," Honsaker said.

Honsaker saw there was nothing honoring Paige in his hometown. He went into Kurtz Monuments looking to change that.

"As soon as my wife heard about it, she was all on board. We're very, very veteran-centric here," Kurtz Monuments owner Scott Harden said. "We need to remember those guys and we need more people like Mitchell Paige around. It's just an honor to be able to do this for him."

A group of riders escorted the memorial from Kurtz Monument in Washington to Charleroi Veterans Memorial Park on Thursday.

"It's going to mean a lot because a lot of men and women have served their country from there," rider and Washington County Commissioner Larry Maggi said.

Through donations, the red granite memorial came together in about three to four months. It was escorted into the Mon Valley Borough, where crews erected it in its forever home.

"It just seems like it's the right thing to do. Throughout history, we idolize heroes," Honsaker said.

There will be a public unveiling of the monument, along with a program, Saturday at 7 p.m.

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