With a fundraising drive in full swing, the county will hold a groundbreaking ceremony for the “Honor Walk” to be constructed at Veterans Memorial Park at Beacon Hill.
The ceremony will be held 10 a.m. ET May 3.
County Veterans Services officer Joe Paul, also a member of the committee spearheading the fundraising and construction of the walkway, said the event would not bring the usual “dog-and-pony” show.
That would come upon the grand opening.
The goal next week was to turn some shovels of dirt and in doing so raise awareness of the project and the campaign underway.
Paul said the committee aleady had $77,000 in the bank with commitments not yet cashed.
“The goal is $300,000 and with the money we have and the commitments we are well on our way to $300,000,” Paul said.
Two of those donors were Drs. Rachel Bixler and Joshua James, who donated $10,000, making them the first “Platinum Level Partners” for the project.
“The committee has been energized by their generous contribution and would like to thank them for leading the charge in honor of our veterans,” detailed a release from the committee.
“Other local businesses, individuals and organizations have expressed an interest in partnering as well.”
As currently conceived, the “Honor Walk” would fill an 80-foot-by-140-foot area between the park’s new amphitheater and the highway, situated along the bluff overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.
The area would be anchored by an American flag on a pole of 70-80 feet within a pentagon, the American flag surrounded by flag poles and flags honoring the branches of the military.
The American flag would be lit according to flag standards.
At each point of the pentagon around the American flag would be five 8-foot-by-3-foot monuments for each branch of the military, each inscribed with the Gulf County veterans who “paid the ultimate sacrifice,” in battle.
There will be seating behind the flags and several areas for quiet reflection and brick and concrete walkways thread through the memorial.
The entire area would be surrounded by a 4-foot high fence with pillars spaced along the length of the fence.
“The Honor Walk will complete the recognition of veterans in this park, recognition which is well-deserved,” Duren said at the time the concept was unveiled.
“This will help remind everyone our freedoms have been willingly paid by our veterans.”
The walkways will extend 20 feet from the center of a monument in opposite directions.
Commemorative paver bricks on the walkways, inside the center circle of the memorial and along both outer circles will be engraved in the honor of or in memory of individual veterans.
The “Honor Walk” committee, a non-profit organization, is comprised of George Duren, Ralph Rish, Rodney Herring, Joe Paul, Rick Lamberson, Jessica Susich and George Cahill.
The conceptual schematics were drafted by Dewberry|Preble Rish, in large measure to allow the committee to pursue available grants to fund the work of creating the memorial.
The Board of County Commissioners approved the concept last September.
There are several fundraiser options available and all donations are tax-deductible. To learn more go to: http://www.VeteransParkHonorWalk.org.