Oct 13 2020
Claire Kowalick | Times Record News
A partnership with a national nonprofit organization that helps promote and install Gold Star Families memorials is the next step for the Lake Wichita Revitalization Committee.
At their meeting Tuesday, the group approved becoming a member of the Herschel Woody Williams Medal of Honor Foundation.
The foundation pursues the vision and goals of Medal of Honor recipient Williams. They team with communities to help with fundraising, promoting awareness and installation of memorial monuments dedicated to families who have lost loved ones in the line of military duty.
There are currently 70 Gold Star monuments in the United States in 49 different countries and there are 72 monuments in progress. In Texas, there are six Gold Star monuments in Cedar Park, Ft. Chadbourne, Gainesville, Lubbock, McKinney and Weatherford.
LWRC chairman David Coleman said installing a Gold Star memorial was already in the design of the future All Veterans Memorial Plaza, however, he is learning that there are several requirements for installing such a statue.
By becoming a member of the foundation, the lake group will have the full support and resources the foundation has to offer, plus the national reach that could boost fundraising efforts.
Public Works Director Russell Schreiber agreed that joining with this foundation is a great way to bring national attention to the Lake Wichita project and make sure the Gold Star memorial is installed correctly.
Coleman said the foundation offers fundraising strategies, promotional support and the foundation takes over the process of contracting with vendors for the memorial itself.
Once becoming a member and funding is secure for the Veterans Plaza, the LWRC would contract with the foundation for $50,000 for planning and installation of the memorial.
Each Gold Star Families memorial is a four-piece black marble design with gold lettering and a cutout of a saluting military person.
Coleman said the design of the entire Veterans Plaza is 90 percent complete and this collaboration with the foundation does not change any design elements.
One of the requirements of becoming a foundation member is the LWRC must add a Gold Star family member as one of their committee members.
Coleman said he already has a Gold Star mother who has agreed to join the committee. She will join the group in an ex officio capacity, meaning she can attend meetings and weigh in on projects, but cannot vote as a member of the quorum.
After announcing the final date of brick sales at the end of September, there was a sharp uptick in memorial brick purchase. Coleman said they now have about 600 engraved bricks in three different sizes that will be incorporated into the design of the walkway of the plaza.
Coleman said Texoma Gives was a successful day for the Lake Wichita group with about $6,000 in donations from the public. With matching funds from major Veterans’ Plaza donor Harry Patterson, it brings the total raised that day to $12,300.
The group agreed to spend $945 of the funds raised from Texoma Gives for the next step in the compressed earth blocks testing. Mud from the lakebed and tested to see if they would be a good match for creating CEBs – durable, inexpensive blocks that can be used to construct buildings that can stand for centuries.
After the material was gathered, the next step is to for six CEBs that will be crushed to determine their compression level and strength.
More information about the Lake Wichita revitalization project can be found at http://www.supportlakewichita.com/plan.