WELLSBURG — The planners of a park intended to honor all Brooke County men and women who served their country will be celebrating the upcoming establishment of the park’s first section with a dedication dinner and dance.
Work on the first section, including the placement of a 6-foot bronze statue designed by local artist David John Mega and Steve Avdakov, an architect with Heritage Architectural Associates of Wheeling, is slated to begin this spring at Brooke Hills Park.
With the support of many businesses, the Brooke County Veterans Memorial Park Foundation will hold a dinner dance on April 5 at the Wellsburg Banquet Hall, formerly the Wellsburg Fire Hall, to celebrate the occasion and generate additional funds for the project. The event will include a buffet dinner served by Staffileno’s on the River, music by dance band Night Life and door prizes. There is a cost for tickets, which be purchased by calling 304-670-6471, 304-737-1236 or 304-737-2090.
They also may be purchased from any foundation member and at the following locations: Chambers General Store in Bethany; Brooke Hills Park, Main Street Bank, Riverfront Mortgage, Robert Scott Lumber and Staffileno’s on the River, all in Wellsburg; and Hood’s Pharmacy, Lyle’s Auto, Parkvale Bank and Scavati’s, all in Follansbee.
Follansbee Mayor Tony Paesano will serve as keynote speaker.
Plans for the park, which will be displayed during the dinner, call for it to include three sections, dubbed “Mind,” “Body” and “Spirit” by Mega, a Wheeling-based artist with ties to Follansbee. Work on the “Body” section is slated to begin this spring and be completed this summer. At its center will be a 6-foot bronze statue of a serviceman kneeling on one knee, with one hand on his forehead in a contemplative pose and his other hand on a rifle on the ground beside him.
Plans call for the soldier to be kneeling before a flower-covered grotto reminiscent of burial mounds created by Native Americans who once inhabited the Ohio Valley.
The Spirit section will center around a black granite fountain with stainless steel arms stretched to the sky, while the the Mind section is set to feature five stone monuments bearing the names of local service members who died while serving at wartime.
The group also hopes to incorporate the names of all Brooke County veterans in the park in some form, and a committee led by Gene Camilletti, a Korean War veteran, has gathered the names of about 150 local men and women who served the country from World War I to the present and plans to publicize them in the future to determine if corrections or additions are needed.
Park staff have created a rustic walking trail through the area with the help of Morgan and Son Inc. and Keith Yost Excavating, both of Wellsburg.