Jan 24 2020
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Last summer, a newly formed committee embarked on a worthwhile goal of raising funding for the construction of a proposed monument that would honor Mercer County families whose loved ones died while serving their country. It is estimated that it will cost about $40,000 to complete the Gold Star Families Memorial Monument project.
The campaign was launched last summer, after County Commissioner Bill Archer met Hershel “Woody” Williams, a World War II veteran and a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor. Williams received the medal in recognition of his actions during the 1944 Battle of Iwo Jima. Archer spoke to Williams during the 2019 Marine Corps League Mideast Division Conference near Princeton.
Shortly thereafter, a major $30,000 matching grant pledge was announced from an anonymous donor, providing a significant boost to the project. Fund-raising to match that $30,000 currently stands at $9,505, according to Archer. And he says contributions for the monument project keep arriving. For example, Archer said Grants Supermarket recently donated $1,000.
Fundraisers have also been held during local football games. The amount of money raised at these events have ranged from as little as $12 to $200.
The current plan is for the Gold Star Families Memorial to be erected on the Mercer County Courthouse campus, but its exact location has not been decided yet. Putting it on the site once occupied by the Clay Family statue is one possibility, but a final decision has not yet been made. There is an ongoing and unrelated construction project at the courthouse which, once completed, will make the courthouse compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The old Clay Family statue had to be removed from the courthouse to make way for a new ADA compliant ramp that is being constructed near the court’s outside entrance.
So a final decision on where the Gold Star Families Memorial will be located probably won’t be made until the ADA construction project is completed.
Many veterans and their families live in Mercer County, and the region has a strong tradition of serving in the military. So the Gold Star Families Memorial is certainly a worthwhile endeavor. If the fundraising campaign is successful, we hope to see this monument erected at the courthouse, or another suitable location in the near future.