A cash reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of the thief or thieves and/or the recovery of the James Thomas Fitz-Gerald, Jr., Captain USAF, Tennessee Historic Commission marker and pole that were stolen in/or around the early morning hours of Saturday, May 17, 2008 from in front of the American Legion Hall at the corner of Elm Avenue and Third Street in South Pittsburg (Marion County) Tennessee. PLEASE help us recover this historic marker as its recycled metal value is less than one hundred dollars, yet its manufacturing or replacement cost is nearly twenty times that. If you have any information please call the South Pittsburg Police Department at 1-423-837-6115, Bob Hookey, Chairman, South Pittsburg Historic Preservation Society, at 1-423-837-8714 or Dennis Lambert, SPHPS historian, at 1-256-495-2217. Information leading to arrest and/or recovery of marker will be kept strictly confidential. We simply want the marker back to honor our local war hero.
USAF Capt. James Thomas Fitz-Gerald, Jr. Historic Marker Recovered!
Bob Hookey, chairman of the South Pittsburg Historic Preservation Society, was called by the South Pittsburg Police Department Saturday, May 24, 2008, and informed that the USAF Capt. James Thomas Fitz-Gerald, Jr. Tennessee historic marker and post have been recovered.
According to Hookey, James Godsey and Alvin Kitchens, both Jasper residents, discovered the Fitz-Gerald marker Saturday morning laying in a ditch off the side of the road leading to the Marion County Landfill. They loaded the marker up for safe keeping and called the Jasper Police Department about the discovery who in turn called the South Pittsburg Police Department. They in turn called Mr. Hookey and he and his son, Joey, drove up to Jasper to pick up the marker, which is now in safe storage until it can be restored to its original location.
According to Hookey, the gentlemen who discovered the marker were not aware of its theft from in front of the American Legion Hall at South Pittsburg a week earlier. They did realize the marker was important, which prompted their calling the police. Mr. Godsey, a veteran himself, like Fitz-Gerald, was glad that they were able to help the people of Marion County and South Pittsburg in the recovery of the marker, said Hookey.
A cash reward of $200.00 was paid to the men for their help in recovering the marker. The reward is $1300.00 less than what it would have cost the SPHPS to replace the marker had a new marker needed to be cast.
The South Pittsburg Historic Preservation Society would like to thank Messrs. Godsey and Kitchens for their keen eyes and willingness to make certain that the marker was returned. The SPHPS would also like to thank The Chattanooga Times, WDEF News 12 and the South Pittsburg Hustler for their news coverage of the marker's theft, which we feel likely prompted the thieves to dispose of the marker after realizing that, according to Hookey, "they had stirred up a hornets' nest." In addition, the SPHPS would also like to thank both the Jasper Police Department and the South Pittsburg Police Department for their assistance.
The members of historic society are glad to have the marker back and will take additional steps to help prevent any possible future attempts at stealing this or any other markers around the area. The marker's recovery is just in time as the we and the nation celebrate Memorial Day honoring veterans like Capt. Fitz-Gerald that died while in service of their country.
Marker restored to original location May 30, 2008 by Bob Hookey, Mike Fitz-Gerald and Dennis Lambert.