Scott County vets hope to restore war memorial

7:10 PM, Nov 12, 2012   |    comments
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A group of Scott County veterans hope to remodel and reopen a local war memorial building to bring future generations of service men and women together.

When Ret. U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Ralph Price returned from service in 1952, he came home to Scott County, and to friends.

"It was a different time, a different place, but really all comes down to the same thing. People just trying to do the best they could. Do their jobs and come home," recalls an emotional Price of time spent with fellow veterans at the local American Legion.

He turned to the legion building, also a local war memorial, on Monday for a Veteran's Day service.

"I wanted to come and see how everything looked today," says Price.

A whole lot better, he says, than it did just one year ago.

That's when Vietnam Veteran Bill Boyatt helped form a building committee to renovate and reopen the crumbling building.

"The building had run down quite a bit, needed a lot of cleaning," says Boyatt. "Were hoping to have live entertainment on the stage just like it was in the older days."

The American Legion and Disabled Veterans of America still hold monthly meetings there, but Boyatt says there's no air conditioning, the bathrooms desperately need renovation.

The exterior is also in urgent need of repairs as water continues to degrade the stone above the main entrance.

Since Veteran's Day 2011, they've raised $12,000 for the work.

"For the economy in our county to be as bad as it is, we are very fortunate," says Boyatt. "The community supports us."

But he says they still need about $70,000 to finish.

So far, they've polished the floor and put in new sheet rock for the stage. They've also resolved some roofing issues.

Both men hope that once it's spruced up, the war memorial will once again become a meeting place for veterans, especially those of a younger generation.

"The younger people don't feel about this place the way the older people do," says Price. "Whether they come or not, we'll see. But I think they will."

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