Memorial Day is just around the corner and the Post Members, Sons of the American Legion, and Ladies Auxiliary of New Martinsville's American Legion, specifically those on the Veterans' Wall committee, are working feverishly to see the wall's completion prior to the holiday. Specifically, the wall committee is planning to have a special ceremony in honor of the wall on May 24, 11 a.m., at its location on 340 Main Street in New Martinsville. Several dignitaries are expected to attend, with a reception to follow.
Legion Member Wendy Bailes stated that the wall committee is still taking names of those who served, as well as donations to help see the project toward its completion.
Bailes stated that the donations people have given thus far are "amazing," totaling over $35,000. "The community . . . the individual donors are amazing. People just open their pockets and give money. That's just fantastic," she noted, adding that a plaque would be created nearby the wall in honor of the donors.
The Veterans’ Wall, located at 340 Main Street in New Martinsville, is expected to be lit continually and include a tough-screen computer database with each Wetzel County veteran’s name. (Photo provided by Wendy Bailes)
The mastermind behind such a honorable project is Sons of the American Legion Commander Matt Bland, who Bailes describes as "the main driving force."
Bailes stated that the 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. It's over 50 years old, and only the World War I and World War II veterans are named. "(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."
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 will be painted by Fast Eddy's with autobody paint. "Hatfield's Custom Graphics is going to put graphics on the wall with names in those graphics."
Furthermore, names can always be added on. "As new ones join the service and come in, they can bring paperwork in," said Bailes. "The wall can continue for years and years."