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Volunteers apply paint to cannons

June 03, 2000|By KERRI SACCHET

Tammy Zello and her nephew, Ryan Hullinger, spent part of their day Saturday volunteering with two National Park Service members in the Adopt-a-Cannon program at the National Antietam Battlefield.

The program recruits citizen volunteers to help in an ongoing project to refurbish historical cannons in the battlefield. Citizens can donate time to repaint the cannon, "adopt" a cannon by contributing money toward its restoration, or both.

Zello and Hullinger came out to paint.

Zello said this was the first time she has participated in the program and she enjoyed the time she donated.

"I thought that it would be really interesting and neat," Zello said, "We are going to stay here for a couple hours today, and I'd also come back in the future if they needed it."

Jane Custer, Culture Resource specialist at the battlefield, said the Adopt-a-Cannon program began in September 1999 when the superintendent of Antietam Battlefield approved funding for it. Part of the funding comes from visitors' fees and the rest from individuals who adopt the cannons, Custer said.

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"The person who adopts the cannon would pay for the painting and then other funds go toward the sandblasting," Custer said, "The total cost of sandblasting and repainting one cannon is between $1,000 and $1,200."

Repainting the cannons involves several steps, Custer said.

The first step involves stripping the paint off the cannons, which is done by ASAP Powder Coating, a local contractor, Custer said. The contractor then puts a gray primer coat on the cannon and sends it back to the battlefield to be painted, Custer said.

The painting takes about two hours.

Of the 40 cannons dispersed around the battlefield, Custer said five have been refinished.

"It takes a lot of time, but we hope to eventually have all of them done," Custer said.

The restoration program needs more volunteers and sponsors, Custer said.

"We have four sponsors right now, and we had one family that was thinking about adopting a cannon as a Father's Day gift," Custer said.

Nine year-old volunteer Hullinger said he was having fun putting the shiny green paint on the cannons.

"I like this," he said. "It's hard digging through the cracks in the middle to get the paint there, though."

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