Watauga County Veterans Memorial Officially Unveiled to Honor Military Members

Published Thursday, July 5, 2018 at 11:14 am

The Watauga County Veterans Memorial was unveiled to the public on July 4.

By Nathan Ham

Military service members, families and friends gathered together on Wednesday morning for the unveiling of the Watauga County Veterans Memorial.

The dream of creating this memorial started roughly two and a half years ago and was completed this summer. The High Country Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America led the fundraising efforts that allowed this dream to become a reality.

The ceremony started with the HCCMOAA President Capt. Fred Schmitt (Ret.) of the United States Coast Guard welcoming guests and military veterans to this very special moment.

“We would not be here today without the generous support of hundreds of individuals and organizations, corporations and government bodies,” said Capt. Schmitt. “We express our heartfelt appreciation for everything that you have done for us.”

Boone Mayor Rennie Brantz and United States Army Col. Benjamin Covington III (Ret.) spoke briefly before the unveiling of the memorial entitled “Time and Honor” that was designed by local sculptor Suzie Hallier who is a native of Banner Elk.

“This monument honors all those in our community who served and sacrificed in the defense of our country and its freedoms and we need to honor them with this and keep this as a permanent reminder as we visit Boone each day, we need to think of those that sacrificed and served this country,” said Mayor Brantz.

Estimates show that there are well over 3,500 military veterans that are currently living in Watauga County.

Col. Covington, a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, spent three years in Vietnam and was one of the original founders of the High Country Chapter of the Military Officers of America. The High Country Chapter of the MOAA was chartered in October of 2004 by Col. Covington along with other charter members that included Col. Sonny Sweet, Col. Don Doll, Col. John Alley, Col. Clem Harper and Capt. Nick Friedman.

“Our intent was to provide a monument that would be unique and memorable,” Covington said.

Lt. Col. George Brudzinski, who did not speak at the event, was one of the instrumental individuals involved with raising funds for the memorial and emphasizing its importance to the community.

“We have to show support for our military. The sacrifices our young men and women in the military are making by going on these repeat tours is just unreal,” Brudzinski said. “It is a tremendous strain on them and their families. We want to recognize and honor all those who have served, and are serving, in protecting the freedom we enjoy today.”

Veterans from World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, the first Gulf War and the current conflicts going on overseas were all recognized for their service to protecting the United States of America.

Following the unveiling, the Watauga Community Band played the service songs of each branch of the armed forces: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and the United States Coast Guard.

The planning and construction of the Watauga County Veterans Memorial would have never happened if not for a select group of individuals that formed the Watauga Veterans Memorial Committee to help spearhead this effort that included finding a location for it, the fundraising needed to make the memorial happen and the selection of a design for the memorial. The fundraising goal that was reached for this project was set at $250,000

Watauga Veterans Memorial Committee Members

Col. Ben Covington, Ret. (Project Co-Chairman)

John Bown, Boone Town Manager (Project Co-Chairman)

Lt. Col. George Brudzinksi, Ret. (Funding Sub-Committee Chairman)

Cpt. Nick Friedman, Fmr. (Funding Sub-Committee)

Col. John Alley, Ret. (Funding Sub-Committee)

John Thomas, former Appalachian State University Chancellor (Funding Sub-Committee)

Alice Roess, Chair of the Appalachian State University Board of Trustees (Funding Sub-Committee)

Maryrose Carroll, designer, poet, writer (Funding Sub-Committee)

Dr. Lynn Gregory, Appalachian State University professor (Funding Sub-Committee)

April Wagner, Veterans Services Officers (Funding Sub-Committee)

Nicole Worley, Boone Town Clerk (Funding Sub-Committee, Public Relations Sub-Committee)

Phyllis Bumbaugh, Daughters of the American Revolution (Public Relations Sub-Committee)

Anna Oakes, Watauga Democrat (Public Relations Sub-Committee)

Lindsay Miller, Turchin Center (Design Contest Sub-Committee Co-Chair)

Col. Vickie Hughes, Ret. (Design Contest Sub-Committee Co-Chair)

Craig Dillenbeck, Turchin Center (Design Contest Sub-Committee)

Rennie Brantz, Boone Mayor (Design Contest Sub-Committee)

Virginia Falck, Downtown Boone Development Coordinator (Design Contest Sub-Committee)

Glen Kornhauser, Boone Police Department (Design Contest Sub-Committee)

Pam Garner, Daughters of the American Revolution (Design Contest Sub-Committee)

LTC. Ron Branch, Ret., ROTC liaison (Design Contest Sub-Committee)

Capt. Fred Schmitt, Ret. (Installation Sub-Committee Chairman)

CDR. Jim Tabor (Installation Sub-Committee)

Patrick Beville, IONCON (Installation Sub-Committee)

Watauga Veterans Memorial donation list

Platinum: North Carolina Rep. Jonathan Jordan

Diamond: Watauga County Commissioners, Town of Boone (in kind), IONCON Engineering (in kind)

Gold: High Country Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America

Silver: Remek Trust, Creekside Electronics (in kind), Boone Sunrise Rotary

Bronze: Samaritan’s Purse, M-Prints Inc., Daniel Winkler Knifemaker, LLC, anonymous

Aluminum: American Legion Post #130, Town of Seven Devils TDA, Annie Pipes, Col. Ben and Ruth Covington, Sy Katz Produce, Inc., Daniel Boone Chapter DAR, LTC Ed and Frankie Groff, Boone Rentals, Wal-Mart of Boone, Harvest House Church, Skyline Membership Corp., Tim and Carolyn Hilton, CPT Nick and Mary Friedman, Mast General Store, Modern Toyota, CAPT James and Lori Fisher, Alley Family in Memory of Randy Alley, Blue Star Mothers of the High Country, Boone Chamber of Commerce, John and Janet Winkler, LifeStore Bank, Gudrun Ohlen, anonymous.

Copper: LT H.V. and Jeanne Morris, Doug and Shelley Helms, A. Kelly, LLC, Watauga Medics, Watauga Building Supply (in kind), COL Sonny and LTC Bricca Sweet, Appalachian Ski Mountain, Piedmont Federal Bank, Terry Shawn Ausel, Edna Bouboulis, Dr. Robert H. Bridgeman, Allen Wealth Management, Lost Province Brewing Co., Appalachian Mountain Brewery (in kind), Edward Small, CAPT Doug and Kathy Ehrhardt, Lt. Col. Robert “Bob” Reneau, Ernest and Peggy Harley.

Tin: Keith Buchanan, CPA, W. Edward and Cheryl Brown, Holly Winkler, Matt and Vicki Stevens, Larry Foster, Ted Hagaman, Susan Norris, P.R. Pokoske, Geraldine Miller, U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx, Larry Turnbow, Ri Nakamura, Sam Adams, Al Olson, Marshall Ashcraft, J. Robert and Julia Gayers, Fredrick Still, Diane Cornett Deal, R.A. Newsome, Lt. Col. Anne and Thomas Low, COL Jeri Graham, LTC Mike Halus, Bryan P. Crutcher, CPT Melanie Trado, Jeremy Turner, Janet Mears, Terry Hamilton, Pepper’s Restaurant, Holly Winkler, Consolidated Electrical Distributors (in kind), Maryrose Carroll, Deep Gap Ruritan Club, Green Valley Elementary School, Sheriff Len and Ruth Hagaman, Mr. and Mrs. Bob Peay, LT Bob Love and Diane Jeffery, CPT Dick and Geraldine Parrott, Mitchell Gragg, Sunset & Vine Wine Shop, Kim Blake, Kathy and Paul Idol, David Beckett, Barbara Daye, North Carolina Senator Shirley Randleman, Helen Barnes, Lt. Col. Dan and Doris Glowa, Mountaineer Ruritan, Boone Drug, Janice Pope, Susan King, Charlotte and Wayne Mizelle, Kathryn Mast, BGen Jim and Nancy Walker, Jim Epperson, Ray Russell, Donna Breitenstein, CAPT Fred and Jesse Schmitt, Jack Simpson, CAPT Charles Rhodes, Ron Talley and Unal Boya, Dan Pleshko, LTC David Cox, Stephen Smith, Farmer’s Hardware, LTC Ron and Deb Branch, Anna Phillips, Maj Dinah Pinney, SEANC District 3, CAPT Brad and Kay Lambert, Carolyn and Robert Fogle, CPT John Morris, Ron Fox, CAPT Doug and Wendy May, Ceylon Barclay, Pricilla P. Sprunt, CDR Jim and Linda Tabor, Peri Moretz, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Scott and Teresa Eggers, Larry Kouslcin, Jennifer Coffey, Norman Locke, LTC Lloyd and Cheryl Scott, MAJ Ted and Brenda Alley, Nancy Brunzos, Meghan and Loura Edmisten, Susan and John Overcash, Ronald Dean, Jon Morris, Carolyn Owens, Janie Doughtery, Woodlands Barbecue (in kind), 1st SGT Bob and Mrs. Ward, Deal, Moseley, Smith LLP, Brenda Lowman, Dr. Charles and Diane Ford, Elyn Swofford Wright, MAJ Bob Gibbard, Betsy and John Wilcox, Ben and Shirley Fox, Elsie Winebarger, Philip and Nancy Zeiss, BG William and Jane Richardson, COL Clem Harper, Dr. Charles Czermak, Edward Kluiters, Patricia and Tom McGuire, MG Skip McCartney, Lt. Col. Joe Lea, MAJ Marv and Judy Williamsen, Dr. Richard Forbes, Kristin Copeland, Appalachian Brian Estates, Dorothy Barker, Dr. John Thomas, Mountain Times Publications (in kind), LTC John and Rachel Sterrett, Jewel Hayes Watson, Barbecue Burgers & Brews (in kind), CDR Gerarda and CW3 John Persad, Grandfather Vineyard & Winery, Loven Ready Mix Concrete (in kind), Harris Teeter (in kind), New River Building Supply (in kind) Dr. Lynn Gregory, David Jackson in Memory of CPL Harry A. Jackson AAF, James and Donna Minton in Memory of Joseph Lester Warren, Glenda Lynch in Memory of SGM Peter F. Lynch, III, DiSanti, Watson, Capua, Wilson Garrett, PLLC in Honor of Tony DiSanti and Holly Winkler, Leslie and Mark Bradbury in Memory of Bill Dame, Gail Houser in Memory of Robert “Jack” Greene, Edwin and Ellen Arnold in Memory of Arnold K. Lester, Sr., Henry and Janet Trivett in Memory of John Sam.

Special thanks: Jim Clemmons – Clemmons Welding, Bill Dicks – The Sign Shop, Donna Breitenstein – Bouquet Florist & Gifts

The Watauga Community Band played the service songs of all five military branches.

The playing of “Taps” prior to the unveiling of the memorial.

The Presentation of the Colors.

A big crowd of people gathered for the memorial unveiling that took place before the parade began.

Col. Benjamin Covington III spoke briefly about the veterans memorial.

Col. Benjamin Covington III gave the command to unveil the memorial.

Those in attendance cheered and applauded as the covering was taken off the veterans memorial.

World War II Veterans were recognized, including Stacy Eggers (center, white shirt).

Veterans from each branch of the military were honored for their service to their country.

Veterans and families gather around to take pictures of the long-awaited Watauga County Veteran’s Memorial.

Col. Benjamin Covington III

Suzie Hallier of Banner Elk designed the veterans memorial.

Suzie Hallier, Col. Benjamin Covington III

Members of the Boone Sunrise Rotary Club paused for a photo with the memorial.


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