Bricklayers volunteer to repair Newsboys monument

Members of the Northwest Ohio Building Trades volunteered their time and talent to restore a large local Newsboys monument.

Built in 1917, two years after the death of John Gunckel, a large memorial monument was constructed at his grave in the Historic Woodlawn Cemetery to pay tribute to the founder of the Toledo Newsboys Association, which later evolved into the Boys and Girls Clubs of Toledo.

The 25-foot high memorial pyramid was built with marble, mica, and an assortment of other stones from all over the world, collected by present and former area Newsboys from across Toledo.

BAC Local 3 volunteers had to repair significant damage to the John Gunckel monument.

According to an article in The Toledo Blade, at an annual memorial service to honor Gunckel, his granddaughter, Billie Iles, 91, said she wished she could see the restoration of the then-deteriorating monument during her lifetime. Development Director of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Toledo Billy Mann, contacted Bricklayers Local 3 Field Representative Matt Aberl, to ask for the union’s help.

Aberl said Local 3 members were happy to help and spent six weekend days in June working on the monument.

Ten BAC Local 3 volunteers performed extensive cleaning, grinding and tuck-pointing of the joints, completely rebuilt an eight-foot section that had fallen out and sealed the entire monument to protect it from the weather.

Aberl was happy his members could help restore the iconic monument.

Newsboys Monument

Volunteers from Bricklayers Local 3 help rebuild the Newsboys monument at the grave site of Toledo Newsboys founder John Gunckel.

“I was ecstatic,” he said about the volunteer effort. “We had a really great turn out. I’m really proud of the way our members stepped up to help out the community. Membership like this makes me proud to do the work we do.”

Besides members volunteering their time, contractors including Sky Works, Caterpillar (CAT), Kuhlman, Rudolph/Libbe and Great Lakes donated equipment and material to help make the project a reality.

“I was so grateful when they told me they were going to do it. At least I know that’s done,” Mrs. Iles said in The Blade. “It’s a beautiful monument, one of the focal points of Woodlawn.”

She remembered Local 3 members helped restore the monument many years ago – “way, way back.”

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