Honoring those who served

It’s for those who are serving. It’s for those who served and came home. It’s for those who have the scars of war. It’s for those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Wapakoneta resident and Vietnam War veteran Ralph Reynolds is raising funds to erect an 8-foot tall, 3-foot wide, 12-inch thick marble monument for the entrance at Veterans Memorial Park. The memorial would honor the soldiers who fought during Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

“I am doing this because it is time to remember and to honor our veterans, men and women who have served since 9/11 and those who are serving yet today,” Reynolds said. “It is for all the ones who have served, all the ones who have given their all, all the ones who lost their lives and given the ultimate sacrifice.”

Reynolds accepted the task of erecting a monument after being contacted by several people, soldiers who have served and family members of those who lost their loved ones in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Those soldiers and family members told Reynolds they would like to see a memorial honoring the servicemen and women who have served in those two countries since 9/11.

Pointing out that monuments already exist to honor those who served during World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, Reynolds said this new monument would complement those at the park’s entrance.

The monument will placed on the south side of a line of trees and shrubs which surround the existing monuments, with the proposed monument approximately 10 to 15 feet from the existing monuments. He already has gained permission from Wapa-koneta Mayor Rodney Metz and Recreation Director Jack Hayzlett to erect the monument on this spot.

After reaching out to city officials, Reynolds said it is now time to contact the public.

He is now soliciting funds to pay for the monument which he estimates to cost approximately $8,000. He is working with Wapak Monuments to construct and assemble the monument.

“I am trying to reach out to everybody in the community whether it is a business, a veterans club, an organization or just the citizens of the community,” Reynolds said. “I don’t think this falls on any one person or group on who should support or who should get this monument built at Veterans Memorial Park in the honor of these men and women.”

He has started a letter campaign to solicit funds.

“I am trying to do this with the most dignity as possible,” Reynolds said. “I would like to reach everyone in the community so they show their pride in these men and women.”