After months of hard work and preparation, Wetzel County's "Wall of Honor" is set to be dedicated this Saturday, with the ceremony set to begin at noon.
The groundbreaking for the wall began on a beautifully bright and sunny day last August, with Wetzel County Commissioners, Delegate Dave Pethtel (D-Wetzel), Senator Larry Edgell (D-Wetzel), and Mayor Keith Nelsen all on hand for the ceremonies.
A representative from the legion said several invitations had been sent out for Saturday's festivities, including one to West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin. Unfortunately Tomblin can not make it; however, they are expecting an appearance from the Wetzel County Commission.
Wetzel County’s “Wall of Honor” was still in the construction phase when this photo was taken, but the finished product will be unveiled Saturday with a special dedication ceremony.
The Wall Of Honor was designed by Sons of the American Legion Commander Randy "Matt" Bland, who Legion member Wendy Bailes describes as "the main driving force."
Bailes previously stated to the Chronicle that the original veterans' memorial at New Martinsville's War Memorial Building "is starting to deteriorate and crumble. It's locked, and plus the material is starting to deteriorate," said Bailes. "It's over 50 years old and only the World War I and World War II veterans are named. "He (Bland) came up with this idea . . . He went to the county commissioners and got their approval." Bailes added that New Martinsville's American Legion owns the land that the memorial is on. "It's going to be lit 24 hours a day. A database, a touch screen computer, will bring up the person's name that is being looked for. Users can see a brief synopsis of the veteran's career, so we will eventually ask for photos. We will do a whole page for each veteran."
Furthermore, names can always be added. "As new ones join the service and come in, they can bring paperwork in. The wall can continue for years and years," Bailes had noted.
The legion is accepting names for the wall, though a certain number of names must be taken in before the wall can be added on. So please be patient if you don't see your or your loved one's name added to the wall immediately.
Also, this past May Bailes had stated that the donations people have given thus far to the wall are "amazing," totaling over $35,000. Furthermore, the community's help has not just been in the form of monetary donations either.
Bailes stated that the wall is made out of steel, which was painted by Fast Eddy's with autobody paint. Hatfield's Custom Graphics is putting graphics on the wall with names in those graphics.