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Review for Carroll County Veterans Memorial Park Association Inc, Carrollton, GA, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

Little did I realize just how many brave men and women from Carroll County, GA had honorably served their country during war and peace until they were memorialized on the granite and marble walls of our Veterans Memorial Park. The names on the walls are a lasting tribute to those patriotic citizens who stepped up and gave their full measure of service when their country called. All gave some - some gave all. I sometimes wonder how such a remarkable, beautiful and meaningful Memorial honoring our local Military Veterans came into being. Then I think back over my eight+ years of history working and serving with the Park and it all comes back with vivid clarity. It was started by a small group of Carroll County citizen patriots who felt that the time had come to recognize and to honor all Military Veterans (both living and dead)from Carroll County who have honorably served their country during war and peace. It would recognize service in all wars of the United States back to the War of Independence (Revolutionary War), including service in the Confederate States of America. Consequently, the Carroll County Veterans Memorial Park, Inc., was created. Officers were elected, along with a Board of Directors. Local Mainstream Veterans organizations i.e., American Legion, VFW, MOAA, etc., could each designate an Ex-Officio Representative to serve on the board. The President, Vice President and Board Members were required to be Military Veterans. Once the organizational structure was in place one of the first things was to draft Bylaws for the Association. They were somewhat crude and sketchy, but they provided direction and guidance enough for the Association and its few members at the time. One of my first assignments as VP was to rewrite the entire document. Of course, the Association was organized for a purpose. Obviously, the main purpose was to plan, build, equip and maintain a park to honor our counties Military Veterans. Further, it was to promote Patriotism, to raise funds and to accept donations to support the construction and maintenance of the Park as a non-profit organization (501(c)3). The Park received approval as a 501(c)3 on July 27, 2003, however, the exemption was retroactive to june 26, 2001. Also, the Park became Incorporated in 2003. It operates on a Calendar Year basis (January 1 to December 31), and prepares a Charitable Organization Tax File each year. The Park Association has three types of memberships: Individual Membership - Any Military Veteran who served honorably, or a bonafide Member of his family; Organization Membership - Military, Governmental, Civic and Private Organizations may be accepted and are entitled to one vote; Charter Members - Those who joined the Association before Vetersns Day, November 11, 2000. Membership dues are $5.00 for Individual Members and $25.00 for Organizations. As time passed Committees were appointed to accomplish the varied tasks that arose. Some of the Standing Committees were: Executive, Membership, Bylaws, Credentials, Finance (Budget), Audit, Nominating, Public Relations, Flags & Banners, Landscaping, Grants and the Fund Raising Steering Committee. Often, members were on more than one Committee. Regular meetings are held monthly, on the 4th Monday at 7:00 p.m., except in December. Here, I should mention that the Park is located on County Property. Permission was granted by a former County Commissioner to use the ground for the Veterans Park. The initial layout of the park was designed by a Carroll County Architect. His design is unique, with a Smart Military Style, which can easily be expanded upon with walls for names of future Veterans. The focal point of the Park is the tall flag pole in the center with the huge American Flag on top donated by the Woodmen of the World. Ninteen Walls of honor have been filled with over 800 Plaques of Veterans. The cost to place a Plaque on the Wall is $300. Across the front of the Park, on either side of the entrance walkway, are four Black Granite Walls. Two are KIA (killed in action) Walls with over 330+ names on them. Several KIAs are from the war in Iraq. It is readily apparent that the citizens of Carroll County have certainly borne their share of responsibility to keep America safe and free. Next is the Logo Wall containing the Logos of the six branches of service: Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard and Merchant Marines (During war time, the Merchant Marines have been included in the Armed Forces of the United States). The last black granite wall is the Contributors Wall of Honor containing four categories of sponsors who have made Monetary Contributions to the Park. On the other side of this wall is the Services In-Kind category containing the names of those who have donated their time, services, materials, equipment, etc., to the construction and development of the Park. At some time along the way a POW/MIA Wall was constructed to honor those Veterans who were held Prisoners-of-War or who were Missing-in-Action. There have been several from Carroll County. Another constructive work in progress is the Bronze Directory at the Park Entrance. It contains the names of the Veterans and the Wall Numbers where they can be located. As additional names are added to the Walls of Honor, their names will be added to the Bronze Directory. This Directory System is very useful to visitors who are able to find their loved ones without searching every Wall in the Park. A Chain Link Fence with Granite Posts spans the length of the front of the Park to guide visitors to the Entrance and to keep visitors off the grass. Flags representing the six military services were also added across the front of the Park which improved the asthetics by adding color and eye catching motion as they wave in the wind. Granite Bricks that line the many walkways can be purchased for $50. Anyone's name may be placed on a brick which contains 2 lines - 14 letters on top and 14 on the bottom for a total of 28. The landscaping at the Park is breath-taking! The Park partnered with the Master Gardners Club and the Spade & Trowel Club who brought Life, feeling and beauty to the Park grounds. An Architech volunteered to be the Project Manager for the landscaping and did a remarkable job. The Park was expanded to include a double spout black granite Water Fountain and a Covered Pavilion with benches. Other black granite benches honoring Veterans and military associations are placed throughout the Park for rest and meditation. Presently under construction is a Wall Honoring Women who honorably served in the Armed Forces of the United States. Completion of the Wall is anticipated within 60 days. The Park Association has committed to conducting two services a year at the Park for Carroll County: Memorial Day and Veterans Day. These services attract approximately 600 visitors, including several Veteran and civic organizations. Also, the Park is frequently requested for other patriotic and civic functions by activities/groups from other levels of governmental. This is a Perpetual Park worthy of memorializing the Veterans of Carroll County (both living and dead) who have honorably served their country in the Armed Forces of the United States of America. It is uniquely designed for expansion to memorialize Carroll County's Veterans for wars to come. The Park has adequate lighting and is open to the public 24-7. I am well aware that this project was a labor of love and inspiration, not only by a determined and dedicated Park Association Staff, but it had the full cooperation and support of the patriotic citizens of Carrol County and its Public Officials and Representatives. I have traveled our country extensively and have had numerous opportunities to observe other Parks for Veterans, and never have I seen one to compare in beauty, accomodation, access, and architectural design with the Carroll County Park. Its rich magnificence and splendor reaches into the hearts and souls of all who observe it, and exaults those Veterans who so proudly served their country. It is a stately structure that will serve our County and its Veterans for years to come. So, if you ever happen to see the Huge Grand Veterans Park Sign that borders the Carrollton - Newnan Highway #16, we invite you to treat yourself to a Reverent and heartwarming stroll through a Memorial dedicated to our Military Veterans that we feel is second to none in the Nation! Only by the Grace of God was I privileged to be a part of it. Roger E. Knowles Past President

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

ensure that all military veterans who honorably served their country and their families would be identified, recognized and cared for in a manner commensurate with their sacrifice to keep our country free and safe from harm.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

Role:  Volunteer & I served in several offices i.e., Presideent, Vice President, Board Member and Staff, and at times, assisted with the Park labor and maintenance.