POINT PLEASANT — Mothers of soldiers sometimes have to pay the ultimate sacrifice to keep the land where we live free and prosperous.
On West Virginia Day, a special dedication ceremony took place at the Mason County Public Library in Point Pleasant, welcoming a new memorial to the grounds, a Gold Star Mothers Monument. This monument is a memorial in honor of mothers who have lost a son or daughter while serving in the armed forces from the Revolutionary War to present day. The West Virginia Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (WVDAR) chose Point Pleasant as the site of one of these special memorials.
“Honoring Gold Star Mothers today is a welcome acknowledgment to all who have lost sons and daughters throughout our country’s history, many of you may have heard us say above all we do not want our children to be forgotten, we say their names and share their stories whenever possible…a mother’s love is forever,” said Shirley White, President of the WVDAR.
Mrs. April Gardner Norris, WVDAR state historian, gave the welcome and introductions; Mrs. Linda Barker Hendrickson, WVDAR state chaplain, lead the invocation and benediction; the Pledge of Allegiance was led by Mrs. Pat Daugherty, Bufurd Chapter of the NSDAR as well as model for the monument; Brooke Price, Colonel Charles Lewis Chapter of the NSDAR, performed the National Anthem and “God Bless America;” Sergeant First Class Matthew Jackson, member of the West Virginia Army National Guard performed taps; and the West Virginia Society of the Sons of the American Revolution Color Guard led the processional and recessional and did the posting of the colors.
Ed Cromley, President of the Point Pleasant Chapter NSSAR and Memorial Committee member, recognized those who helped him along the way during this project planning including Former Point Pleasant City Councilman Miles Epling, Mason County Tourism Director Denny Bellamy, and Mason County Public Library Director Pam Thompson.
He gave a special mention to the Gold Star Mothers, “nothing compares to the sacrifice that you folks did…we are here to honor the sacrifices you all made for our great country.”
Including White and Ed Cromley, greetings were given by 14th District Delegate for Mason and Putnam Counties Jim Butler, Mason County Commission President Rick Handley, Mayor of Point Pleasant Brian Billings, Representative of Senator Joe Manchin Brian Aluise, President of the W.Va. Division UDC Linda Whaley, President of the WVSSAR Frank C. “Joe” Khare Jr., Marine Corps League Detachment 1180 Representatives Chuck Cooper and Roger Martin, Representative of Senator Shelley Moore Capito Alexander Vaughn, and Delegate of the 13th District Scott Cadle.
Following, Malinda “Mindy” Davis lead the dedication for the Gold Star Mothers Monument.
Davis along with the Sculptor of the monument/Owner of Vandalia Bronze Jamie Lester unveiled the monument to the crowd following a drum-roll from the SAR Color Guard. Next, Hendrickson led a group prayer and yellow roses were presented to Gold Star Mothers in attendance by Miss Emma Hunt, a member of the junior ROTC program at Parkersburg High School.
The SAR Color Guard then gave a salute and Hendrickson led another group prayer and then the memorial was decorated with wreaths with help from Hunt.
Other recognitions were given to WVDAR members in attendance as well as County Clerk Diana Cromley, Mason County Commissioner Tracy Doolittle, Point Pleasant City Councilwoman Jerrie Howard, Mayor of Ripley Carolyn Rader, Circuit Court Judge Lora Dyer, Circuit Court Judge Richard Tatterson, and Supreme Court Judge Tim Armstead.
Special acknowledgements were given to the Mason County Commission, Gordon and Mildred Jackson Foundation, Colonel Charles Lewis Chapter of the NSDAR, Point Pleasant Chapter of the NSSAR, American Legion Post 23, Marine Corps League Detachment 1180, Dennis and Barbara Brumfield, Ed and Diana Cromley, David and Suzanne Dickens, Rick and Tanya Handley, Donald and Margaret Waldie, The Ohio Valley Bank, City National Bank, Tu-Endie-Wei Garden Club, Four Seasons Florists, and Chico’s Dairy.
The State Regent’s Project Committee members included State Chairman Samantha Shleser, Point Pleasant Placement Chairman April Gardner, Brenda Shinkovick, Debi Smith, Jewell Field, Mary Edith Johnson, Pat Daugherty, and Cheryl Brown.
Following the ceremony, a reception was held inside the library.
Erin (Perkins) Johnson is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, extension 1992.