Veteran enlists Army pals for Rifle cannon work
With the cannons at the West Garfield County Veterans Memorial in Deerfield Park in Rifle in need of a new paint job and steam clean, longtime Rifle resident and Army veteran Bill Hutton volunteered.
But he knew he’d need to enlist some old friends with whom he served if the project was to be completed by Veterans Day this year.
Despite some long trips, Robert Mark, Jim McEvers and Robert Struwe answered the called.
“I’ve known Bill for 40 years and helped him out with some of the prep work,” said Mark, who drove from South Carolina to visit with his friend from the Army.
Mark said the cannons had been in operation up until the Vietnam War and he’s found new appreciation for the men who used to operate them because of how heavy they were.
“It’s a privilege to be able to work on it at all,” he added.
Hutton said he didn’t have to twist any arms to get his old friends to come.
“As soon as the opportunity came up they jumped in to help,” he added.
Along with the new paint coat and steam clean, the restoration included an extensive preparation process that involved transporting two very old cannons to Hutton’s home.
There, he and his friends sanded them down, steam cleaned them and repainted them. The cannons hadn’t been painted for more than 10 years.
“I’ve been involved with the memorial from the very beginning,” Hutton explained. “It’s important to remember the guys that stand up.”
The cannons are currently on display at the West Garfield County Veterans Memorial in Deerfield Park in Rifle.