Niagara Gazette

Opinion

December 22, 2013

DELUCA: When the veils drop

Niagara Gazette —

My friend, Rocco DelGrosso, admits to getting a little misty eyed when he spends time at the first monument he worked on a few years ago. I kind of expect him to feel the same way about the new one being unveiled today.

In 2010, he led the installation of the All Heroes' Memorial in the City of Tonawanda at the edge of the Niagara River. Rocco pretty much saved that monument. The couple donating the money insisted it be installed on the spot where a Tonawanda youth, Skip Muck, swam across the river prior to becoming a war hero.

It was Rocco's idea to build the monument on a steel enforced platform — rather than digging into questionable soil — that allowed the monument to stand the spot its benefactors desired.  It was an impressive save he is proud to have engineered.  

Rocco and his wife Carla are good friends of my family, and Roc has been sharing stories with my husband and me all year long about his latest project — installing the new Tuscarora Heroes monument which is making its debut at 6:30 p.m. in Lewiston. The project honors the native Americans who saved villagers when Lewiston burned in the the War of 1812.  

While everybody else is getting very well-deserved attention for the project, not much has been said about Rocco, who has been working quietly behind the scenes this past year to insure the three beautiful bronzes, depicting two native Americans and a frightened woman holding a baby, will be standing hundreds of years from now in their parklike setting on Center Street and Portage Road.

"He was a godsend," said Lee Simonson about Rocco. Lee heads the monument committee for the Historical Association of Lewiston and led efforts to build the waterfront monument honoring those in the region who assisted runaway slaves on the Underground Railroad. He's also been the driving force behind the Tuscarora Heroes project. 

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