DONORA – Albert P. Delsandro was believed to be the first person from his hometown of Donora to enlist to serve in World War II.
Three of his brothers would follow his lead by enlisting in the war, said Ron Delsandro of Carroll Township.
“They all came home, fortunately,” said Ron Delsandro, a nephew of Albert.
A. P. Delsandro is still remembered in Donora, where he served five consecutive four-year terms as the borough’s mayor, beginning in 1957.
A small veterans memorial was built in his honor in the 500 block of Meldon Avenue, and it was in need of being restored.
His surviving relatives have an annual golf outing to raise money for the memorial, where bronze plaques honoring the town’s war dead have been polished.
They found an Ebensburg artist and illustrator, Brian Dumm, to created four large murals, one each to honor World War I, World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars. The were attached to a neighboring building and dedicated last weekend.
Dumm said he drew his inspiration for the murals from vintage propaganda posters promoting such government sponsored efforts as investing in war bonds.
“I wanted them bright and bold with a modern spin,” Dumm said last week.
A. P. Delsandro led Donora during one of its darkest periods after U.S. Steel began to shut down its mills in the borough in the late 1950s. He was largely credited for his recovery efforts while a new industrial park was established on the former mill property.
“It was tough times,” said Tom Delsandro of Donora, a son of the former mayor.
“He was a great guy. He put Donora first,” Ron Delsandro said.
He also was remembered for his labor efforts with the United Steelworkers union before he died of a heart attack in 1983 at age 66.
The committee overseeing the memorial is also planning to install landscaping and benches in the small park.