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May 30, 2013 8:16 am

EDITORIAL: Veterans memorial given new life

Written by Ilene Olson

A veterans memorial west of Powell once again is a shining recognition for military members of our community who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

The memorial was first envisioned in 2000 and completed in 2005 through the efforts of Powell High School students, teachers and volunteers from the community as a timeless tribute to Powell veterans who gave their lives for their country. 

But the plaques honoring those veterans were damaged over time through an unanticipated chemical reaction with lime in the walls of the memorial.

The effort to restore the memorial came about initially through the efforts of Chuck Hewitt, Powell’s city parks superintendent, who saw the damage and came up with a plan to fix it.

He was aided by local Boy Scouts, who cleaned up the site and prepared the memorial for restoration; by Dennis Monroy of Cody, who rebuilt the memorial walls with polished black granite.

Volunteers from Powell High School contributed to the overhaul by painting and reinstalling the metal flag that stands in the memorial’s center.

Hewitt and Monroy are veterans. They saw the need and took the steps to fix it, largely because they understand better than most the sacrifices made by the service members honored in the memorial.

As Hewitt put it, “It’s not just a project to me. It was honoring those boys who are on that wall. We served, but they gave the ultimate.”

By taking it upon themselves to make the needed changes — to personally make a difference — veterans and other volunteers ensured the memorial’s tribute to our fallen heroes would be one that lasts for many decades to come.

We commend them for restoring the memorial so the sacrifices of local veterans honored won’t be forgotten.

In addition to extending the memorial’s life, they also extended its circle of influence, providing an example for the entire community to take ownership and to pay its respect to veterans who gave their all.

During a June 20 meeting at the American Legion, organizers will discuss rededicating the restored PHS Veterans Memorial. Another topic of discussion may be how to make Veteran’s Park a tribute to veterans in more than name only. The park may one day feature a tribute to the many local veterans who have served our country.

Your ideas and support would be welcome for this worthy cause. This project, too, can result in a stirring example of patriotism and respect for service members that will live on for many years to come.

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