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The group charged with the upkeep of a downtown memorial to fallen veterans devoted Monday night to some of East Tennessee's most decorated heroes.

The East Tennessee Veterans Memorial Association focused their fundraiser on the memory of Calvin Ward. The Greene County native was one of the most highly decorated soldier in World War I. He received the nation's highest award for valor in combat, the Medal of Honor.

Among the other 13 recipients from East Tennessee is fellow World War I veteran James "Buck" Karnes. His grandson spoke about seeing the memorial for the first time.

"As a family member, I can't say enough. The work that they've done, this is a magnificent memorial, and what they are doing to maintain it too and to keep it going, it's is an honor to be here and enjoy it," said David Carrier, Karnes' grandson.

Money raised at the fundraiser will go to the upkeep of the memorial. It will serve as the centerpiece when Knoxville hosts the annual Medal of Honor convention for all the living recipients in the fall.

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