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Students turn war refuse into lasting memories

December 09, 2005 12:00AM

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While it's not exactly beating swords into plowshares, some Pittsburg State University students are using the debris of war to create lasting images of an American icon.

This week, students in the PSU College of Technology melted down brass rods salvaged from the war in Iraq and cast them into miniature Liberty Bells. The finished bells will be displayed in the home armories of units that comprise the 891st Engineering Battalion, which is returning this week from the war.

Russ Rosmait, an engineering technology professor at PSU, said he was contacted recently by 1st Sgt. Donald Splechter, with the 891st, about the project. Splechter is employed at the Acme Foundry in Coffeyville in civilian life and had met Rosmait at a conference.

Rosmait said Splechter suggested using brass metal rods that were used in repair kits in Iraq. The excess rods are normally discarded, but Splechter arranged to have more than 40 pounds of the material sent back to Pittsburg.

Rosmait said he was eager to do the project because it was educational for students in the KTC Casting Lab and was a way to honor the members of the 891st for their service in Iraq.

/This is a great project," Rosmait said. "The students are learning and at the same time they get a good feeling about doing something to honor our men and women in uniform."

©2005 Pittsburg State University