The Veterans Memorial stands proud thanks to a tireless committee and supportive community.
In 2006, a committee formed in Vinton with a mission to honor both veterans from Vinton and Roanoke County killed in the line of duty, as well as members of the military who have or are serving the country.
All volunteers, the Vision Committee worked to raise funds, find a design for a monument and oversee the construction. The Veterans Monument, named “High Ground” was built at the Vinton War Memorial and dedicated in June 2011. The design by Larry Bechtel, John Kirtley and Mary Babcock features an elevated octagonal pavilion with steps leading to a terraced fountain, granite panels inscribed with the names of fallen soldiers and a bronze American flag. Brick pavers – available for purchase – surrounding the monument are inscribed to honor deceased veterans, soldiers who are serving or have served in the military, or other people deserving recognition.
Barbara “Bootie” Bell Chewning, chairman of the committee, says those who serve on the committee have been so dedicated to the project from the beginning. They were charged with raising $400,000 for the project, and succeeded. They continue to raise funds for maintenance purposes and sell brick pavers.
“The people of Vinton-Roanoke County responded very well to our pleas for funds,” says vice-chairman Audrey Thrasher. “But the economy certainly hurt us and we have worked hard to be able to raise the funds to pay off the monument.”
Thrasher, whose father was in the Merchant Marines during World War I and husband is a Navy veteran of the Korean War, says she has always been patriotic and appreciates the sacrifice of the men and women in the service. Serving on the committee was a challenge she was happy to accept.
“We have a strong nucleus of members of our committee that have stayed with and worked hard to make this monument happen,” Thrasher says. “It is such a thrill when I see people walking around the monument looking for the bricks they have purchased and appreciating the beauty of the monument.”
Adds Chewning: “Participating in something of this magnitude shows a love for community and country and veterans. To see its completion is overjoying for all of us.”