Brooke Park Veterans Memorial Park Construction Continues

As work continues on the Brooke County Veterans Memorial Park, the volunteer group behind it is asking those interested in donating to it to get in touch with them soon.

That’s because the names of individuals, groups and businesses who have donated $1,000 or more for the park will be inscribed on a separate monument there.

Howard Armstrong, president of the Brooke County Veterans Park Foundation, said the group needs to submit the donors’ names to the stone’s manufacturer no later than Monday. He asked anyone interested in making such a donation to call him at 304-670-2224 before Monday.

Armstrong stressed anyone who contributes $1,000 or more after that will be added to the monument at a later date, but the group would like to include as many donors in the first inscription as possible. While the park is slated to be completed for a Veterans Day 2012 dedication, donations still are needed for its estimated $200,000 cost.

Crews with Danny Hukill Contracting of Weirton have laid the foundation for the future park by the paddle boat pond at Brooke Hills Park as well as building concrete steps and a walkway to the site under the supervision of Ernie Stucin and Charles “Poke” Beall, both members of the foundation.

A stone block has been established for a bronze sculpture to be provided by Tim Schmalz, a Canadian artist whose work includes sculptures for the Mother Theresa Memorial in Calcutta, India; the American Soldiers Memorial in Walkhill, N.Y.; and the Fallen Firefighters Memorial Monument in Ontario.

Armstrong said Schmalz approached him about providing a sculpture for the park and he initially didn’t believe the group could afford him. But he said Schmalz was willing to work within the foundation’s budget.

At each side of the bronze piece are cement pads on which will rest granite ledgers representing Flanders Field, the French battlefield where many American soldiers were killed and buried in World War I; and Arlington National Cemetery, the military cemetery maintained by the Army in Virginia.

The reference to the two grave sites is meant to symbolize local veterans who were buried at home and abroad, said Paul “Bud” Billiard, who suggested the park’s overall concept. Billiard is the group’s volunteer publicity coordinator.

Behind the bronze sculpture will be a granite wall bearing the names of local service members who lost their lives while serving at wartime and those, living and presumed dead, who were prisoners of war.

Sections of the wall will be reserved for those who died in World Wars I and II, the Korean and Vietnam wars, the recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as the POWs. A separate monument will honor Marine Lance Cpl. Michael J. Smith, a 21-year-old Wellsburg native who was killed in a skirmish in Iraq in 2004.

The park was suggested by Joan Nicholson, Smith’s aunt, who was inspired by remarks made by Armstrong at a community memorial service for him. Armstrong suggested that all local veterans should be remembered for their sacrifices for their country.

Nicholson offered then to help with fundraising and has served as a member of the foundation’s board of directors since it was formed.

The cost is $150 to sponsor a paver, which may be inscribed with the name of a veteran or any loved one, living or dead, Armstrong said. A sample paver and applications may be found at Main Street Bank in Wellsburg or online at

Those interested in sponsoring pavers also may call Armstrong for information.