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Typos on war hero Stephen Karopczyc's memorial to be fixed

Local officials, veterans, and the Bethpage community came

Local officials, veterans, and the Bethpage community came together to unveil a new memorial in honor of Stephen Edward Karopczyc, an army soldier who was killed in combat in Vietnam in 1967. (June 15, 2013) Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

A monument to a Long Island hero will be corrected to fix typos, organizers said yesterday.

A polished black granite slab in Bethpage honoring Army 1st Lt. Stephen Karopczyc will be replaced within the next two weeks to fix two spelling errors, said Gary Bretton, president of the Bethpage Community Foundation, one of the groups behind it. The soldier was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his leadership under fire in Vietnam.

They discovered the problems before the dedication but were concerned what a delay in the ceremony last June could mean for Karopczyc’s aging parents, Ed, who is 90, and Catherine.

“So we went with the typo, and it’s being fixed as we speak,” Bretton said.

On the monument the word “Medal” was misspelled as “Metal” and his first name was incorrectly spelled as “Steven” instead of “Stephen.” All the work and materials for the original memorial, which costs about $70,000, was donated and the corrected version will use donated work and material as well, said Bretton.

“When the error was caught it was kind of too late to do anything,” said Bethpage Fire Chief James Baudille, who led the push to honor Karopczyc. “We tried to do the right thing for his parents.”

Ed Karopczyc said he was aware of the typo and wasn’t concerned. “When there’s a human error I don’t get excited,” he said. The people who donated their time and effort to honor their son “made a tremendous gesture” and he didn’t want them to feel diminished, he said.

“There was a lot of effort there from various groups,” he said. “A mistake was made and it’s correctable.”

Karopczyc was killed in action in 1967 while leading an outnumbered platoon against enemy forces. He kept fighting after being wounded and covered a grenade lobbed at his platoon with a helmet to protect his fellow soldiers, suffering fragment wounds himself. He died later that day.

Ed Karopczyc said he was glad people would remember his son. “He did some heroic stuff,” he said.

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