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By Carmen Ensinger
The Veteran’s Memorial Walkway is looking for names of veterans, both past and present, to be included on the memorial stones that will be erected on the courthouse lawn, hopefully next fall. Getting a name added to the memorial stone costs $100.
“I think we are about one-third of the way to our goal on this project,” Project Coordinator Bernie Faul said. “We still have a long way to go to reach our goal of $250,000, but selling the names of veterans to go on the wall will help bring in a lot of money for us. We currently have raised around $65,000 towards our goal.”
Faul said that she wanted to clear up a misconception that a lot of people might have about who’s name can go on the monument.
“We have had a lot of people thinking that a veteran has to be deceased to be included on the memorial wall,” Faul said. “That is not the case. There are other misconceptions as well – that you have to be from Carrollton – that is false also. This is for all of Greene County. In fact, this is for anyone who has or has had any connection at all to Greene County either now or in the past.”
Take, for instance, Kendall Bridgewater, who is a Captain in the Navy.
“He hasn’t lived in Greene County in years, but his name will go on there,” Faul said. “He lives in California now but his name will go on there because he was raised here and has relatives here. He is now a Captain of like 100 ships in the Navy. He has his own fleet in the Navy in fact.”
Even though they are only one-third of the way to their goal, Faul said they have already ordered the memorial stones.
“Instead of just one stone, we went ahead and purchased three identical stones looking to the future,” she said. “Ten years from now, when the first stone is filled up, they will be able to add more names of people who have joined the military on the other stones. Even though for now two of the stones will be blank, we wanted them to match 20 or 30 years into the future.”
The stones will be in the shape of a pentagon and will have some pretty neat flags on them.
“There will be three flags placed on them,” Faul said. “The American flag will be in the middle and then I did some research and managed to find a flag with all six military branches on one flag. The other flag will have the POW logo, KIA logo and the WW logo, all on one flag. This flag will honor all of our Prisoners of War, those Killed in Action and our Wounded Warriors. I was pretty excited about finding those flags.”
Faul said she tried to shop local, or at least someone with a local connection when purchasing the stones.
“We went with Bill Stendeback and he gave us a pretty good deal,” she said. “They have funeral homes out in Indiana and he charged us just what the stones cost.”
Faul said they had originally wanted to break ground in May of 2022, but that will not be possible.
“Because these are the black stones and they come from India or Europe, we were told they probably wouldn’t be here till August,” Faul said. “Which will give us more time to do some more fundraising.”
As for the fundraising, Faul said she can’t give enough thanks to the Eldred American Legion for all they have done.
“We have to give a shout out to the Eldred American Legion because they have been so good at backing me and donating money to this project,” Faul said. “Probably over half of the money raised we have gotten from them.”
As for future fundraisers, Faul said currently they have a raffle going on for a beautiful American flag quilt made by Nancy Wollenweber and Leona Freand. Tickets are 6 for $5 and Faul said she hopes to be able to display the flag in the window of Pharmacy Plus in Carrollton. The winner will be drawn in February.
“We are working on organizing a Redneck Trivia for a fundraiser,” Faul said. “Winchester held one and they said it made a lot of money for them. I’m working with a guy over there now about setting it up.”
While getting a name added to the memorial is currently $100, after it is erected, the cost will go up to $125.
“The reason we are pushing for names now is because it will cost more to get the names added if they have to come back after it is already set in place,” Faul said. “We will have forms at the different banks, the courthouse and several businesses in all of the different communities.”
Plus, the earlier one gets their name in, the higher up they will be on the list.
“The names won’t be listed alphabetically on the monument or by any certain war or conflict,” Faul said. “They will just randomly go on there – I’m trying to keep them in the order of how I get the forms.”