Monument to Steel Valley Korean War hero relocated
More than 20 years ago, Homestead erected a monument honoring John Doran Kelly, who lost his life – and earned a Medal of Honor – fighting in the Korean War.
Now the memorial will attract more attention at a different, busier location in the borough.
Steel Valley leaders officially revealed the monument, which was refurbished as part of the move, at the former train station along Amity Street near the entrance to the Waterfront.
Previously, the monument was at the corner of Amity Street and Ninth Avenue in front of the borough’s former police station, a building that is being redeveloped.
“It’s much better right here,” said Carroll Kelly, 93, the elder brother of the memorialized Marine. He was one of about a dozen relatives of John Kelly — who went by Jack — to attend the morning ceremony.
The older brother and others attending all agreed the Jack Kelly memorial will be much more visible in the new location. The old station, now a satellite branch of the Allegheny County District Attorney’s office, is located between the old business district and the Waterfront. It is between two sets of train tracks where motorists often have to stop for passing trains.
John Tichon, who participated in the ceremony and served on the original committee that raised funds for the monument in the late 1980s, said, “This is probably one of the busiest intersections in Western Pennsylvania.”
Homestead Mayor Betty Esper congratulated all who were part of the original effort to have the memorial built and those who helped make the move possible. She said the borough’s Franjo Construction Corp. was of great help, transporting the monument and having it cleaned and refurbished.
Esper said Jack Kelly was a hero known to anyone who graduated from the former Homestead High School, noting her mayoral counterparts — Ray Bodnar and John Dindak from Munhall and West Homestead, respectively, who attended the event — were among those who graduated from the old high school.
Officials noted Kelly’s picture still is seen by students at Steel Valley High School.
Esper said Kelly graduated in 1947 and was best known for playing on the school’s basketball team when it won the state championship in 1946.
Kelly went to Arizona State College after graduation then enlisted in the Marines in 1951. In May 1952, he single-handedly charged an enemy stronghold and destroyed a machine gun bunker before being mortally wounded.
He was honored in a flag-raising ceremony at the monument site on Friday by members of the Marine Corps South Hills Detachment.
Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1966, or [email protected].