State Representatives Matthew Hill and Micah Van Huss were on hand last Thursday morning at the Johnson City/Washington County Veterans Memorial to present a check for $50,000 to officials for the purpose of completing an expansion project.
The money, which was appropriated in this year’s state budget, will help the Veterans Memorial Foundation Executive Committee complete the third phase of the memorial. Once completed, a new ring of larger granite slabs will allow an additional 1,200 names of veterans to be displayed alongside the 2,000-plus names already on display at the memorial.
Brenda Barnette, chairwoman of the foundation, said the ultimate goal is to honor as many veterans as possible at the memorial, and the larger black granite slabs will do just that.“We will be able to get more names put on sooner,” Barnette said. “We’ve been limited in the past to 39 names (per slab), and now we’ll have 52 names.”
Thanks to the grant from the state, the foundation has now raised $130,000 of its goal of $150,000 to complete the latest expansion project. This marks the second time in the past three years that the state budget has included an allocation of $50,000 for the memorial.
“Talking with the board of directors, they made it very clear the need that they had so they could build more panels,” said Hill, who presented an oversized check to committee members. “That’s a really expensive proposition. Two years ago, we were able to get $50,000 to help them, and then in this year’s budget, we were able to get another $50,000.
“This is so important to the community. There is so much real thought and research that goes into the names that are placed on the granite.”