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NEW NAME FOR LIBRARY REJECTED

A proposal to change the name of Grand Island's library to honor a decorated Vietnam veteran and former town supervisor has been shelved by library officials and the Town Board.

In April, Douglas W. Harding of East River Road asked the town to change the name of the Grand Island Memorial Library on Bedell Road to the Martin T. Prast Memorial Library.

But officials said recently that the name change isn't going to happen.

"It's not actively being considered," said Supervisor Peter A. McMahon, who said the Town Board would have to approve any renaming of the library, which is a town building.

According to Dianna Schwartz, president of the library's board of trustees, the renaming was discussed at a recent library board meeting and was unanimously rejected.

"Everybody felt it was named for all the veterans and it shouldn't be named for one person particularly," said Ms. Schwartz.

Prast died Jan. 21 at 50.

An Army veteran and Green Beret paratrooper, Prast was wounded three times in Vietnam, including a 1970 incident in which he lost the use of both legs when a grenade damaged his spine. He received two Bronze Stars for heroism, the Purple Heart, the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry, the Army Commendation Medal and the Combat Infantry Badge.

Prast was town supervisor for one term in the 1980s. Under his tenure, the Grand Island Memorial Library -- located in Veterans Park -- was built.

While the library renaming didn't work out, Prast is still a prime candidate for future commemoration by the town, said Councilman Richard W. Crawford Jr., the Town Board's liaison to the library board.

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