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Veterans memorial nearly finished

November 11, 1999|By MARLO BARNHART

While Washington, D.C., is abuzz with talk of future memorials to honor the U.S. Air Force and the heroes of World War II, Washington County's wall to honor its veterans is already a reality.

Those attending Thursday's Veterans Day program at the Martin L. "Marty" Snook Park in Halfway got a sneak preview of the 140-foot stone wall, which is tentatively scheduled for formal dedication on May 30, 2000.

Total cost of the project, including donated labor, materials and money, was $125,000, according to Ray Linebaugh, secretary of the Joint Veterans Council of Washington County.

"We are within $5,000 of meeting that goal," Linebaugh said Thursday, noting the project was financed entirely through donations from individuals and companies. No government money was received.

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Still to come are five plaques for the front of each of the five arches to represent each of the branches of the armed forces. Some lights and shrubs and other landscaping items must be obtained, Linebaugh said.

Donations can be mailed to Joint Veterans Council, c/o John Martz, treasurer, 62 Nottingham Road, Hagerstown, Md., 21740.

Linebaugh thanked the students/apprentices of the International Masonry Institute National Training Center at Fort Ritchie who donated two years of work on the brick and stone, which represents $100,000 in costs.

Also lauded were Washington County Parks and Recreation Department, Hagerstown Block Co., Martin Marietta, St. Lawrence Cement Corp. and Steffey & Findlay Inc. who provided materials.

Linebaugh also singled out one individual and his family for a total donation of $5,800 to the project.

"This project owes a lot to Greg Snook and his family," Linebaugh said. Snook, president of the Washington County Commissioners, is the son of the late Commissioner Marty Snook, for whom the park is named.

Snook in turn praised former commissioners James R. Wade and Ronald L. Bowers who sparked the quest for the wall several years ago.

Bowers, the keynote speaker, wore his uniform as U.S. Army Reserve, retired, with the rank of major. He in turn recognized the veterans' council for its tenacity in getting the wall from the drawing board to reality.

"America is only as strong as its military and the military is only as strong as its veterans," Bowers told about 50 veterans and dignitaries gathered for the event.

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