Sugarcreek Twp. plans statue of war veteran Jim ‘Pee Wee’ Martin

Eight- to 10-foot statue planned of D-Day paratrooper and longtime township resident who died this month

Sugarcreek Twp. leaders and friends of James “Pee Wee” Martin are planning to raise a statue of the World II veteran and longtime township resident as part of the township’s Veterans Memorial Park, the township administrator said Tuesday.

Martin died Sept. 11, Patriot Day, at 101.

The township is planning a Veterans Memorial Park near the intersection of Upper Bellbrook Road and Feedwire Road, township Administrator Barry Tiffany said. Within that memorial, as a privately funded interest, plans call for a eight- to 10-foot-tall statue of Martin in the veteran’s likeness.

A Pennsylvania sculptor who builds statues offered an estimate for the work of $100,000 to $150,000, Tiffany said. He believes a deposit has been paid to begin what could be a job of about 10 months to a year. A tabletop-sized version will be built first.

Greene County Commissioner Rick Perales recently visited San Diego for a Force-Con event honoring veterans. There, Perales said he shared plans for the proposed statue. Tiffany said advocates for the statue worked to raise awareness and funds there.

ExploreWWII veteran and paratrooper Jim ‘Pee Wee’ Martin dies at 101

Perales said it’s important to remember a great but humble man. This idea was first floated while Martin was alive, but Martin rejected the idea unless the proposed monument also named all of his brothers in arms, Perales recalled.

“It had to be about his brothers,” he said.

The Allied victory in World War II was not inevitable, Perales said.

“Our youth just don’t know what that was like,” the commissioner also said, referring to the Second World War. “I don’t, and I’ve tried. The fact is, what Pee Wee and his colleagues did, it was amazing.”

In the June 1944 D-Day invasion, James Martin was among the first Allied paratroopers to jump into Normandy with the 101st Airborne, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment. At 19 years old, he trained for that moment since joining the Army in 1942. His unit’s objective was to capture two bridges and keep the Germans from sending reinforcements to the beaches.

Martin was one of the original “Toccoa Men” in the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment at Camp Toccoa in 1942. He was given the nickname “Pee Wee” because he was the lightest man in the regiment.

Tiffany said he spoke with a commander of the 101st at a recent service for Martin. “He confirmed for me that Jim was the last of the original Toccoa 506th 101st Airborne. It’s really the end of a generation,” he said.

Further information about the memorial park, along with a way to donate, may be found at https://www.sugarcreektownship.com/344/Sugarcreek-Veterans-Memorial

To donate to the statue of Mr. Martin, please visit: https://www.jimpeeweemartin.com/

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