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Gold Star Families Monument Will Be at Courthouse

Jan 26 2020
Jim Cochran |The Intelligencer

A number of Marshall County residents in the past couple of weeks received letters pertaining to a Marshall County Gold Star Families Memorial Monument, while others will be receiving the same letters in the near future. The letter explains the monument and the need for money to undertake this project.

Some 10 1/2 months ago, Moundsville resident Delbert Chrislip, a U.S. Marine veteran of the Vietnam War, was challenged by Hershel “Woody” Williams to spearhead a group of Marshall County residents to place a Gold Star Memorial Monument in the county to honor the families of those who had a relative who perished in military service. Williams, a West Virginian, won the Medal of Honor during World War II.

Chrislip took up Williams’ challenge and joined with co-chairman Gary Rider in the endeavor. Others involved from the outset included Gold Star families Cathy and David Hammond (Gold Star Family) and Shelly Guthrie (Gold Star Family. Don and Rose Shilling, also a Gold Star Family, recently joined the committee.

One of the first undertakings of the committee was to find a site for the monument.

Committee members were in agreement that the ideal location would be the Veterans Monument Plaza on the Marshall County Courthouse where five granite monuments and six small monuments are located.

Members of the Gold Star Family Memorial Monument committee approached the county commissioners and were given approval to construct the monument, which will be 7 feet in height and 13 feet long.

The new monument will be at the south end of the plaza where there is sufficient space so that none of the smaller monuments would have to be moved.

Now back to the monetary issue for the new monument. According to Rider, the cost will be $55,000.

Although no fundraiser has been undertaken up until now, the good news is that $16,000 in donations has already been received for the project.

Tentative plans are for a groundbreaking to take place during Memorial Day Weekend, and hopefully the dedication will take place near Veterans Day.

Rider expects Williams to be present at both events.

As to, Williams, 95, he was a Medal of Honor recipient for heroism during the World War II Battle of Iwo Jima and has been throughout the United States on behalf of the monument effort.

One side will bear the words “Gold Star Families Memorial Monument”— a tribute to Gold Star Families and relatives who have sacrificed a loved one for our freedom.

The other side will tell the story about homeland, family, patriotism and sacrifice.

The center of the monument will feature the most distinctive feature of the monument — a cut-out which represents the loved ones who made the ultimate sacrifices in the name of freedom.

There is a Hershel “Woody” Williams Medal of Honor Foundation, a non-profit charitable foundation that was established in 2010. It has undertaken “Gold Star Families Memorial Monument”projects being construed throughout the United States.

The foundation mission is the vision of Williams.

The mission is to honor Gold Star families by building Gold Star monuments in all 50 states, offering scholarships to Gold Star children, sponsoring outreach programs and events and educating communities about Gold Star families and their sacrifices.

The local group is a not-for-profit organization, and anyone wishing to donate toward the monument can send their check to Gary Rider at the Moundsville Public Library, 700 Fifth St., Moundsville, 26041, and it will be forwarded to the foundation.