GALLIPOLIS — Gallipolis City Commissioners and local veterans groups gathered Tuesday evening to continue discussion of the potential of hanging military veteran memorials posters along the light poles in City Park.
“I wanted to tell you in advance that the next step that needs to be done for the hanging of the pictures, you need to go to the park and planning commission,” Commission President Tony Gallagher said.
City Manager Gene Greene said the park and planning commission would hopefully be meeting the coming Monday or Tuesday.
“What they’ll (the park and planning commission) do is bring their opinion to the (city commissioners),” Gallagher said. “Then the commissioners will make their decisions at that point or discuss it at that point. That’s our next step and we need to have that done first.”
Jon Lynch, member of the Gallia Veteran Service Commission, declined to speak after commissioners gave the privilege of the floor to visiting veterans. VFW Post 4464 Commander Bill Mangus spoke next.
“We have made some serious inroads since the last we met,” Mangus said. “We have discussed with the American Legion (of Gallipolis). They’re on board. We have the commander of the VVA Vietnam vets, Larry Marr, right here. He’s for it. The Veterans of Foreign Wars are for it.”
Mangus said he had spoken with Disabled American Veterans commander Keith Jeffers about the project and felt he was in support of the project, but added that Jeffers needed more time to speak with his unit. Mangus said members of the Vinton American Legion are still in the process of being contacted.
“What we’ve accomplished so far is we have three organizations online: Vietnam Vets, American Legion (of Gallipolis) and the VFW,” Mangus said. “What we discussed as a unit is that we will form a committee and have a representative or two representatives from each of the veterans organizations. We will have a board of directors and we will decide as a unit with all the organizations together about how the posters are going to be put up and at what time.”
Mangus said ideally the posters would go up around holidays that have military service significance. Memorial Day, Independence Day and Veterans day were mentioned during the commission meeting. Posters would be changed out across the summer season. Mangus said recent individuals who had served or were serving would take precedent with their posters hung.
“This program that we’re trying to put together was started by the honor guard from the VFW, we are bringing all organizations together,” Mangus said. “And I made this comment to Commander Marr before we came over here, I feel like we can draw together like this because over the years everybody goes their own direction. I really feel we can put a program together when we come back to this council, we will have a program organized, we’ll give you a list of how we’re going to run this and manage it and the finances. Everything will be laid out. We’ll do the service work. We’ll take care of the upkeep on it. It won’t cost the city or the park. It’s strictly going to be something we finance ourselves.”
Mangus said assistance would not be asked of anyone outside the organization unless individuals wanted to make a donation.
“We will go to the park board and talk to them,” he said.
He said by the next commission meeting, the poster hanging project would be under way.
One man stood with concern as to whether the proposed posters being hung would only focus on veterans who had been born in Gallia County as opposed to veterans who lived in Gallia County.
Keith Sheets clarified statements from a previous meeting. Sheets was unsure of why some bricks had not had names engraved and placed yet. He was referring to names on bricks that had been purchased for City Park and not names to be engraved on the granite of military memorials in the park. Sheets was unsure of why some bricks had not had names engraved and placed in their designated place. He apologized to those assembled for any misunderstanding.
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.