Officials Break Ground On Veterans Memorial Wall For McDowell

MCDOWELL CO., N.C.,None — On Tuesday, county officials and local veterans broke ground next to the Senior Center for a memorial wall that will honor those who served our country.

A ground-breaking ceremony was held for the new veterans memorial wall that will be located between the Senior Center's gazebo and the Corpening YMCA. Committee member Frank Dean, who is also a retired lieutenant colonel, said this wall will stand as a lasting tribute to veterans, both alive and dead.

"We are delighted and we could not be more excited about this project coming to fruition," said Dean.

Earlier this month, the McDowell County Commissioners voted to enter into an agreement with Post 56 of the American Legion about the memorial wall. The county will provide the site but the American Legion will be responsible for its construction and upkeep.

For some time, the McDowell County Salute to Veterans Committee has been selling engraved granite bricks. For a $100 donation, a brick, measuring 4 inches by 8 inches, will be engraved in honor of a veteran. The first line of the brick will feature the honoree's name while the second line will bear the person's rank and branch of military service. The last line will denote the war that the veteran fought in or the term of service if the veteran was not in an armed conflict. If the brick is dedicated to a veteran killed in action, it should read KIA beside the war.

The payment for each brick is a tax-deductible gift. Bricks can be purchased to all honor veterans alive or dead. The bricks in the wall will honor veterans from other places as well.

"This is not just for veterans of McDowell County," said Dean.

He added the applications for the bricks can be picked up at the Senior Center.

The money raised from the sale of the bricks was first used to help pay for the American Veterans Traveling Tribute, which consisted of a traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and other salutes to America's veterans. The event, called the McDowell County Salute to Veterans Celebration, was held in May at the Corpening YMCA's soccer field.

Dean said the original fund-raising goal was $20,000 and so far, more than $76,000 has been raised.

"It will be an A-plus addition to the Senior Center," said Dean. "It will be an A-plus addition to McDowell County."

Commission Chairman David Walker said this is a community project between the county and the American Legion. Alan Mainer, the county's veterans services office and commander of Post 56, said the Legion is in the process of designing the wall. A dedication ceremony is planned for Veterans Day, which is Nov. 11.

"We would like to have people come out and see this as it is being built," said Mainer.

Randy Hollifield, who led the effort to bring the American Veterans Traveling Tribute to McDowell, and other veterans who worked on that project helped county officials break ground for the new memorial wall.

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