May 28 2019
Joselyn King | The Intelligencer
WHEELING — A Gold Star Monument in Wheeling to Honor the families of those losing loved ones at war should be in place this summer, Marine Corp League Commandant John Nanny announced Monday during Memorial Day services at Heritage Port.
It could even be set in time for the Upper Ohio Valley Italian Heritage Festival in late July, he said.
Nanny recently has been spearheading efforts to bring a Gold Star Monument to Wheeling through the Hershel “Woody” Williams Medal of Honor Foundation. Nanny and his group raised more than $57,235 for the effort, and proceeds from this year’s Ogden Half Marathon also will be added to the amount.
“I’m proud to say we just selected the spot (last week),” Nanny told those gathered at Heritage Port. It will be on a hillside overlooking the Veterans Memorial Amphitheater above the flags.
With the money in place and a site selected, the footer for the 13-foot by 7-foot base of the monument will be poured as soon as possible, he said.
“I’m telling you it’s going to be massive, but it’s paid for,” Nanny said. “As soon as that footer is poured, I expect to have that monument up and be showing it off sometime this summer.
“Thank you, Wheeling. And God bless you.”
The Bailey Funeral Home and Monuments Co. of Flatwoods, Kentucky is crafting the monument, and already has constructed 40 of the Gold Star Monuments already placed throughout the country, according to Nanny. They have another 60 in the works.
West Virginia Sen. William Ihlenfeld, D-Ohio, served as keynote speaker for the event. He said it is a special honor that American Legion Post 1 in Wheeling is the oldest American Legion post in the nation.
Ihlenfeld also spoke of the military service of those in his own family, including his grandfather Charles Ihlenfeld. Charles was elected Ohio County Prosecutor in 1940, but went off to serve in World War II before the end of his four-year term. He wasn’t home in 1944 to campaign for re-election, so his wife Maxine took on the duty of campaigning for him. Her efforts were successful, and she won him the election, Ihlenfeld said.
“We’re all going to enjoy this weekend,” he said. “It might be a barbecue or a graduation party, or taking in a ball game or going to the beach.
“There’s nothing wrong with that. But we should stop and pause and remember why we’re able to do all that.
American Legion Post 1 Commander John Powell said no matter how politically divided America may seem, “there is far more that united us than divides us.” He also called upon recent veterans to join the American Legion, an organization that lobbies for their rights.
American Legion Post 89, also in Wheeling, was represented by Commander Demetrius Lathon and Adjutant Constina Lathon.