The Tyler Area Senior Citizen Association in Whitehouse will host a dedication and celebration event at 2 p.m. Sunday at its facility, 10495 County Road 2167. The public is invited to attend.
TASCA executive director Billie Gordon said the keynote speaker will be Greg Leitch, assistant scout executive for the Boy Scouts East Texas Area Council, which is significant since two local Boy Scouts were involved in making the project a reality.
This weekend's tribute also includes poetry and dramatic readings, patriotic line dancing and the playing of taps as well as a parade of the colors, according to a news release.
Additionally, the East Texas Korean War Veterans Association will have a symbolic presentation that recognizes those who were killed in action, went missing in action or were prisoners of war.
After the program, attendees can watch Boy Scouts raise new flags outside and then come back inside for refreshments provided by Prestige Estates.
“We're really excited to be bringing it to culmination. We've got a lot of exciting activities planned,” Ms. Gordon said.
According to a news release, the main goal of the event is to celebrate the erection of the veterans' monument, which features nearly 150 names of military members who served the country in various capacities.
The project's first phase — the erection of the monument and its accompanying flag pole — was recently completed, the release states.
The vision and planning for the project came from Marshall Sharp, a longtime TASCA volunteer who served in the U.S. Navy from 1957 to 1993, as well as TASCA members John Toups and Harry Carlton.
Sharp has said the activity center needed funds to build a retaining wall, and he thought the wall also could be a way to honor veterans and show respect for them. The monument, which is about 4 feet tall, sits in front of the wall.
Names on the monument include the son of Jim Russell, the namesake for Jim Russell Road in Whitehouse, and a Medal of Honor recipient from Troup, she said.
“It just covers such a wide range. We're just so excited to be able to pull it together. … It's really done a lot for the community,” she said.
As part of their Eagle Scout projects, she said high school student Joseph Mohr did fundraising and worked with the granite company to build the monument while Scott Kilgo did fundraising and erected the flag pole. Both are from Boy Scout Troop 359 of Whitehouse.
In order to make the project a reality, TASCA accepted donations for veterans whom residents wanted to honor.
Community members were asked to make a donation of $35 or more for each name they wanted listed. Each name was put on a plaque, which also includes the person's branch of service, date of service and any wars in which they fought.
Ms. Gordon said additional names are already being submitted for phase II of the project. She estimated that the wall has space for 450 names.
For more information on the dedication event or getting a name on the monument, call TASCA at 903-871-3217.