by Greg Jordan
for the Princeton Times
PRINCETON — A non-profit organization is working on a creating a portable memorial wall which will honor the thousands of southern West Virginia and Southwest Virginia veterans who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
Representatives of Fallen Warriors from Tazewell County, Va. have been visiting county commissions on both sides of the West Virginia and Virginia state line to request money for a portable wall which will honor veterans from Bland, Buchanan, Dickenson, Grayson, Lee, McDowell, Mercer, Russell, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington, Wise and Wythe Counties.
The portable memorial will honor veterans who lost their lives in action, Fallen Warriors Treasurer Ernie Lowe told members of the Mercer County Commission during their April 9 meeting. Lists from each county will include veterans from World War I to the present day.
Mercer County has the names of 402 veterans on its panels of the wall, Lowe said when he showed the commissioners a model of the wall. Mercer County is the only county which will have the names of veterans who lost their lives in Beirut and Panama on the finished wall.
“We go by the Department of Defense on how they determine if somebody was killed in action,” Lowe said.
When the wall is completed, it could be displayed at county fairs, Fourth of July celebrations, local festivals and other events, he told the commission. Fallen Warriors has been asked for $5,000 from each county with names to be included on the memorial. Lowe said if the Fallen Warriors organization was ever disbanded, the panels would be distributed to each county. The actual wall’s panels will be 6-feet-tall and 2-feet-wide, making the completed wall about 26-feet-long.
“If the organization ever dissolved, the panels would go back to you,” Lowe said. “They’re your panels.”
Commissioner Greg Puckett asked Lowe and Fallen Warriors member Charles Nelson if their organization had approached local veterans groups for funding. Lowe said the money veterans organizations have available for projects has gone down.
The Mercer County Commission voted unanimously to provide $3,500 for the county’s video lottery fund. Puckett asked Lowe to approach the commission later to see if additional funds were available.
Lowe said the $5,000 Fallen Warriors is requesting from each county would pay for more than the wall itself. Paying for maintenance costs and insurance for the trailer which will be used to haul the wall and store it are another reason for the fundraising effort.
— Contact Greg Jordan at email@example.com