Fundraising completed for new veterans memorial

T-L Photo/SHELLEY HANSON A FEW members of the Veterans Memorial project break ground at the site on Friday at Riverview Cemetery, Martins Ferry. From left are Terry Wilman, a city resident and Vietnam war veteran; the Rev. William Webster, pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church; and city Service Director Andy Sutak.

MARTINS FERRY — After months of fundraising and gathering donations, the anticipated installation of a new monument honoring veterans and first responders in Martins Ferry can get underway.

Terry Wildman, city resident and Vietnam war veteran, said $35,800 has been raised for the project, which involves the creation of a 6-foot tall granite monument that will be installed atop Riverview Cemetery. The solid granite memorial will be 6 feet tall and have engravings on all four sides, including the insignias of the branches of the military, along with insignias of groups dedicated to veterans, such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, the Disabled American Veterans and others.

Engraved bricks, purchased by people for $100 apiece as part of the fundraising, will line walkways leading to the monument.

On Friday, Wildman, along with two of the monument committee members — the Rev. William Webster and Service Director Andy Sutak — took a moment to kick off the coming installation work with a ceremonial groundbreaking at the site.

Wildman said they also hope to install some benches in the future to allow people to sit and pray at the monument as well. The cemetery, located high on a terraced hilltop, provides a fantastic view of the Ohio River valley below, adding to the monument site’s location.

Wildman said he hopes the monument can be officially dedicated in October or it might occur later in November on Veterans Day.

“I want to thank all the people who helped make this come true,” Wildman said.

He noted a 50-year-old time capsule found at the former memorial there that was in disrepair will be opened during the ceremony with items laid out for people to see.

Sutak described the monument as “special for the city and veterans and first responders.”

“We need to recognize these people more and what they did,” he said. “We take for granted what they did.”

Webster said making the monument a reality was made possible by the “truly generous people of the community.”

Veterans Memorial Committee members include Mayor John Davies, Sutak, Councilmen Robert Hunker, Bruce Shrodes and Tom Burns, Police Chief John McFarland, resident Brian Dawes, Webster and Wildman.

The memorial will be made by Randall Gallagher Memorials. The brick pavers are being donated by Lollini & Sons Brick and Stone.


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