New London hopes to have memorial done by Nov. 11
By MEGAN COOPER
Mt. Pleasant News
NEW LONDON — “A tribute to our living veterans and a memorial to our deceased veterans,” is the motto of the Veteran’s Memorial that is being constructed in New London, said Larry Meagher, chairman of the memorial committee.
The memorial will consist of soldiers who are associated with New London in some way. “It could be school, it could be that they were born here or they have lived here,” said Meagher. He also wanted to mention that there will be some women’s names on the granite slabs as well.
Meagher, along with Earl Horn, Mervin Raines, Jim Pickle, Ron Barron, Howard Hudnall, Dave McGregor, Judy Weigerd, Alisha Hudnall and Sandy Brecht, have been working tirelessly over the past few years to get this memorial constructed. This committee of 10 has dedicated their time, their money, and their spirit in order to see this memorial come alive.
In 2010, then-Mayor Mike McBeth led the effort to secure the property where the memorial is being constructed. A house was there at the time, but the City of New London tore down the house and donated the land for the memorial. “McBeth has been a key figure in obtaining the land,” Meagher stated. He also added, “the city has been really great through this process.”
The memorial, which is hoped to be finished and dedicated by Veterans Day (Nov. 11), will consist of six granite slabs, which will hold the names of the veterans. It will also have two benches, landscaping, two soldiers at the front (one female, one male), a sign that will say “New London Veteran Memorial Park,” the three flags, the state flag, the POW/MIA flag and of course the United States flag. Finally, the memorial will include a Fallen Soldier monument in the center containing the names of those who died in battle or while in service.
Creators of the memorial will also have six holes in the ground, one for each of the service flags that will be put up during holidays like Memorial Day or Veterans Day, and during funerals of former soldiers or current soldiers.
The Fallen Soldier monument will hold the name of Jeremy Fulk of New London, who sacrificed his own life to save two soldiers during his service. During a training exercise, Fulk noticed a truck that was out of control and rolling toward him, another marine and a Midshipman, Fulk reacted and got those two out of the way, saving their lives. He died on Aug. 1, 2000, at Camp Pendleton. Fulk is buried in New London. Along with him, the monument will have the names of seven soldiers from World War II and two from Vietnam, which are: Raymond Culler (WWII), Wayne Eckles (WWII), Burdell “Oops” Gilleard (WWII), Lorrain P. Little (WWII), John Pennebaker (WWII), Wayne C. Ritchey (WWII), Russell Williams (WWII), 1st Lt. Woodroe W. Warth (Vietnam) and Larry Howell (Vietnam).
Others who have been helping tremendously with the project are Dan Meinen and his son and Pat Henderson along with the crew. “Meinen has donated his time, his equipment, and his workers in order to complete this memorial,” Meagher said. “He has truly been a major help.”
The community has been helping as well. Arnold DeJaynes designed the sign that will be placed in the memorial. Another community member is organizing the models for the soldier statues at the entrance, Katherine Ball has filled two scrapbooks full of memorabilia of the memorial from day one until now and Sandy Brecht helps to take the pictures.
Those who have donated money toward the memorial include: Enhanced Henry County Community which donated $12,000, the Pennebaker Foundation donated $5,000, and Woobies, through various fundraisers, has raised over $20,000. Boecker Masonry has donated its time laying the brick on the walkways and the foundation. Hy-Vee donated the trees that will be placed on the edges of the memorial and George M. Wittich Funeral Home and Memorial provided the granite slabs. “It has become a town project,” said Meagher.
“It’s exciting and it took a long time to start, but the community has come together,” Meagher stated. The community is looking forward to the dedication, which will be announced at a later date.