Thursday, July 19, 2018

Johnson County Veterans Memorial moving forward

Vienna’s VFW Beggs-Gurley Post No. 5222 member Richard Brumley speaks before the Johnson County commissioners and those in attendance Monday afternoon about the Veteran’s Memorial project they are looking to construct at the Vienna city park starting this spring. The project cost is estimated at $50,000 and includes six black granite slabs which are to host more than 6,000 names of Johnson County women and men who have served. The project is still looking for financial assistance from the community.

The Johnson County commissioners met for a regularly scheduled meeting Monday in which members of VFW Beggs-Gurley Post No. 5222 joined the Vienna mayor to present details of their Memorial Wall project to the commissioners.

Veteran Richard Brumley spoke before the commissioners detailing the project’s scope and mission saying it was moving ahead with or without further community funding.

“This is too important to us to not complete it,” Brumley said, adding that the area veterans would see the project through to fruition one way or another.  “It is important we honor our veterans who served.”

While the presentation of the project plans did not include directly asking the commissioners for any funding, costs to complete the project were estimated at $50,000 and would require the veterans to conduct further fund raising.  The project is likely to receive support from the county as commissioners said they would review the budget and take a vote at the next meeting on proposing a donation.

The veterans hope to start the project in early spring 2014 and have it completed by the fall.  The project includes six black granite slabs measuring four feet wide and six feet tall arranged in something of a half-moon layout that is to measure 32 feet from end-to-end.  Names of Johnson County veterans are to be etched in with a laser and are to include an estimated 6,000 men and women who have served since WWII.

The project is to replace the aging and limited Veterans’ Memorial structure currently in front of the Vienna Library.  The veterans, along with mayor Jon Simmons, said the plans are to move the memorial to the city park where its visibility would be greater and add to the area’s other attractions.

The names of WWI Veterans will remain in their current fixture, as their plaque in the courthouse is intact and legible.  The new memorial will also allow for additional names to be added in the future as well as adding an additional granite slab should the need arise.

“We would of course appreciate donations from the community, but we [veterans] are committed to completing this project,” Brumley said about the cost of the project.

The veterans consider the memorial a countywide project and are already working with members of the community who have “stepped up and donated” their time and expertise, Brumley said, adding that more help would be needed to complete and fund it, but that he does not foresee any problems in finding volunteers.

For those wishing more information on the Memorial or wishing to help may contact VFW Beggs-Gurley Post No. 5222 at (618) 658-4931 or the Vienna City Hall at 658-5161.

Donations can be delivered to the VFW, Vienna City Hall or The Vienna Times office. Please memo all checks for the memorial fund.

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