Veterans group taking action after vandals damage Veterans Memorial Park in Mentor

MENTOR, Ohio -- A local veterans club is taking action after a group of vandals damaged property at a Lake Metroparks pavilion.

Authorities said the vandals heavily damaged top-of-the-line, handcrafted picnic tables inside the pavilion at Mentor's Veterans Memorial Park around 1:30 Christmas morning.

The vandals not only destroyed one of the picnic tables, but they also burned one of them when they tried to shove it into the pavilion's fireplace to torch it.

"It bothers us most because it's built in honor of the men and women who have served and have given so much to their country already," said Josh Honaker, president of the Lake County Chapter of the U.S. Veterans Motorcycle Club.

The metroparks keeps a nearby wood pile stocked daily so parkgoers can relax and enjoy a warm fire while gathering in the pavilion.

Now, the Lake County Chapter of the U.S. Veterans Motorcycle Club is taking action. They've contacted the city of Mentor and offered to buy supplies and rebuild the picnic tables.

They're also getting estimates on buying new ones.

Members of the club said they're upset anyone would target any park, especially one dedicated to veterans.

"Helping out is what we do. It's for veterans and that's what we're all about. Our goal is to help the veterans of Lake County. We would just like to keep providing a nice place for the people of Mentor to come and enjoy," Honaker said.

Honaker, an Army veteran who served in Afghanistan, has a message for the vandals.

"Grow up and maybe after they realize what they've done and what it means to people, maybe it won't happen anymore," Honaker said.

Police in Lake County said the vandals in the surveillance photos have been identified, but police didn't say if the suspects have been arrested or charged.

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