Vycom and JH Plastics Donates Seaboard® to Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial in Jim Thorpe, PA, as Low-Maintenance Solution for New “Fallen Soldier” Sculpture

Vycom and distributor JH Plastics, LLC, of Allentown, PA, have donated Seaboard (TM) to the town of Jim Thorpe, PA, for its new “Fallen Soldier” sculpture at the town’s Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial. The use of Seaboard® will ensure that the sculpture will be low-maintenance and withstand the elements long-term. After volunteers in Jim Thorpe made much-needed repairs to the Memorial last fall, they decided to further enhance the site with the new silhouetted sculpture and a granite bench this year.

Jim Thorpe resident Jerry Kmetz led a two-year fundraising campaign and, with a small team of volunteers, was able to create a new, 3 X 8 ft. space which Kmetz thought would be well-suited to a granite bench and a sculpted silhouette of a soldier kneeling before the “battlefield cross,” a monument to deceased military that is made up of the soldier’s rifle stuck into the ground between his or her boots with the helmet placed on top.

Kmetz originally anticipated having ¼-inch thick metal machined into the silhouette design. However, while picking up material for another project at JH Plastics, he was introduced to Seaboard HDPE as a better option. Both Vycom and JH Plastics then donated the material for the project.

“Seaboard HDPE was the perfect alternative to metal because it’s lighter weight and won’t need to be periodically sanded or painted as metal would,” explains Kmetz. “Seaboard also provides greater dimension as a sculpture piece because of its one-inch thick profile.”

As part of Vycom’s Seaboard line, the HDPE plastic marine, RV and outdoor material provides superior performance where water, UV exposure and other harsh elements are present. Unlike wood or metal alternatives, Seaboard HDPE will not rust, corrode, rot, delaminate or splinter. It also offers superior scratch resistance and stiffness.

“We are frequently asked to recommend materials for a wide range of applications as well as provide some very unique fabrication projects,” explains Jim Heacock of JH Plastics, which offers distribution and fabrication services. “Due to the outdoor exposure, the best material choice for this application is Seaboard, with its moisture and UV resistance and attractive matte finish,” he said. “Many of our jobs involve plastic welding and we find Seaboard HDPE one of the most user-friendly materials on the market.”

Heacock coordinated with Duane Brown of Lehigh Valley Plastics to provide the CNC profile cutting of the panel, which was also donated to the project. Matt Somerfield of MTS Ventures, LLC, helped with CAD drawing files.

JH Plastics is also providing and installing a support mounting system into the profile of the sculpture so it remains straight when it’s installed. The silhouette and bench will be the last elements in the restoration of the memorial site. Volunteers have already replaced broken concrete and an old wooden fence, repainted flag poles and landscaped the area.

“This type of application is a first for us with the Seaboard material,” added Heacock. “We are proud we can be a part of helping to honor veterans with a memorial that will endure the elements for many years to come.”