- Associated Press - Sunday, July 16, 2017

LAKE CITY, Ark. (AP) - Pictures of men and women who served their nation on a wall in the town’s museum date back almost 100 years, but two local officials hope to do something more to honor local veterans.

Brenda Hutcheson, a Lake City council member, and Mayor Jon Milligan are finalizing plans for construction of a new veterans memorial just outside the museum at 300 Cobean Blvd. Hutcheson said the area has a deep history of patriotism and should have a monument for the veterans who live or have lived there.

“Just from the veterans we have come in contact with through the museum, many have won the Purple Heart, many have sacrificed with their lives,” Hutcheson said. “If you talk to any veteran today, they will say that was our job and our duty to protect America and our freedom. Lake City has been very involved in patriotism for a long, long time.”

The Jonesboro Sun (https://bit.ly/2uai9Co ) reports that the veterans memorial will be three stone monuments inscribed with the names of Lake City veterans and those from the surrounding area. It will also contain U.S. flags, a soldier statue and benches representing different branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. Milligan said they hope to get the monument completed by Veterans Day on Nov. 11.

“When it dries up, maybe next week, we are going to have dirt hauled in,” Milligan said. “We are going to get the meat of it done. The eagles, soldiers and other stuff can come later, but we would like to have a dedication then if we can.”

Hutcheson said she came up with the idea for a veterans memorial because she was tired of men and women of the armed forces, such as her husband Donald Hutcheson who served in Vietnam, not getting the recognition they deserve.

“My husband is a veteran and I have noticed so many times when veterans are not recognized,” Hutcheson. “He is from the Vietnam era and a lot were not recognized. I thought this is a great way for our city to recognize and honor our veterans.”

Hutcheson said one problem organizers have faced is locating veterans from the area who have served. The memorial will contain the names of all members of the U.S. Armed Forces form surrounding areas such as Needham and Bowman, as well as Lake City.

“Some may be deceased and some of their families may have moved away,” Hutcheson said. “To make that connection is sometimes very difficult. We set up at Springfest and collected a few names there. We have put requests on Facebook. Our goal is to honor all. We do not want to leave anyone out.”

Hutcheson said anyone who has served or has a family member who served should contact her via the information provided below.

The monument is expected to cost about $35,000. The bulk of funding, $20,000 came from the sale of a house donated to the city by Wells Fargo. After the city fixed up the donated house, it sold the home to a local veteran at a reduced cost and is using the profit for the memorial.

“So we helped a veteran, and then helped to provide for the veterans memorial,” Hutcheson said.


Information from: The Jonesboro Sun, https://www.jonesborosun.com

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