As the American Legion Hughes-Pittinger Post 26 celebrates its 100th anniversary, it’s continuing with efforts to create a Wall of Honor, featuring the names of veterans who lived in the Powell …
As the American Legion Hughes-Pittinger Post 26 celebrates its 100th anniversary, it’s continuing with efforts to create a Wall of Honor, featuring the names of veterans who lived in the Powell area since 1919.
Post members have been collecting names from various sources over the past year — and the deadline to submit names for the wall is Monday, Veterans Day. The estimated completion date for the memorial is early July 2020.
In the meantime, project leaders are asking for financial support and participation from the community.
“Most of all, we ask for your patience and understanding that this project will become a reality,” said American Legion Post 26 Trustee Bud Schrickling, who’s helping oversee the effort with former Post Commander Jerry Clark and a Wall of Honor Committee.
“We are committed to accomplishing this task and we want it to be something the veterans and their families will be proud to be a part of,” Schrickling said. “We want it to be done correctly — nothing scares us more than getting a name spelled incorrectly or worse, not at all.”
A century’s worth of names will be honored on the memorial, but it’s a daunting task.
“We have verified around 2,260 names of Powell residents who have served,” Schrickling said.
The American Legion Department of Wyoming gave the Powell chapter a file that includes 41 pages of names, dating back to the original charter of Post 26 in December 1919.
Some names are listed on 3 by 5 inch membership cards, others have come from Powell Tribune obituaries, lists from the Wyoming State American Legion office for various categories including deceased members, World War II-era news articles, the Soldiers of the Great War (WWI) Program, War on Terror Fallen Warriors, other memorials and emails and phone calls from individuals, Schrickling said.
“The biggest problem with all of the various lists, files, obituaries, cemetery records, etc. is they are all in different formats, few are alphabetized, and none are in any recognizable computer format,” he said.
American Legion and Wall of Honor committee member John Fraser has spent more than 300 hours deciphering handwritten documents — including 1,400-plus membership cards from 1948-62, which proved to be a daunting task.
Further, some veteran names are duplicated across the various lists.
“All of these must be verified that we [don’t] have numerous entries for the same individual,” Schrickling said. “[To] add to the confusion, [there’s] a slight difference in spelling, the use of initials instead of a full name or the use of a nickname.”
The Legion project goes beyond the wall, too.
“We hope to include a time capsule with donated items which will remain closed for a century, as well as enhancing the area in front of the Legion building,” Schrickling said. “This includes handicap parking and ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant access to the front of the wall via a more accessible sidewalk past the existing flagpole.”
The Legion is continuing to seek donations to help fund the effort, with $5,400 raised to date.
“This is somewhat less than what was reported before,” Schrickling said. “The prior estimate [of $6,500 raised in July] was based on a projection that was inaccurate. We hope to enhance our fundraising efforts in the very near future.”
Donations to the wall should be made out to the Powell Wall of Honor and sent to the post at 143 S. Clark St.
Meanwhile, names of Powell area veterans can be submitted via an application form. Those forms can be picked up at the Powell Legion post, which is open from 3-8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday on South Clark Street. You can also contact a post member, visit the post’s Facebook page (named American Legion Hughes Pittinger Post 26), call 307-754-3411 or send a request by mail to the post’s address.