Veterans memorial design gets approval

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For Chapman Park

By Stan Welch – Following minor changes to the design, the West Pelzer Town Council authorized Mayor Peggy Paxton to proceed with signing the contract for the construction of the veterans memorial that will be a key feature of the Chapman Park.

The changes included changing the language of the tribute wording to include all those who have given their lives in their country’s service, and not just those from West Pelzer.

In June, the Council learned that the plan to include the name of all the Town’s veterans on a memorial at the Chapman Park site would be very difficult, if not impossible, to achieve.

“It turns out that the Veterans Administration has a long list of conditions that have to be met to qualify to be on the memorial. For one thing, they had to be born here and to be living here when they enlisted or were drafted. Also, the VA doesn’t even have a complete listing of the veterans who served. Unless they sought benefits or medical treatment, the VA has no record of them,” said Town Clerk Paula Payton, who researched the matter.

Also, the South Carolina State Seal will be added to one panel of the three panel memorial face, balancing the design.

In addition, a free standing obelisk honoring the Chapman Family, which donated the site of the park, will also be installed. The wording of that memorial and its final placement within the park is awaiting consultation with the surviving members of the family.

West Pelzer resident Walt Young, who owns and operates a monument sales business in town, and who has worked with the town to reach a final decision, said that he hoped to have both pieces installed within a month. That will be followed by the Park’s opening.

The final cost of the two memorials will be $11,985, the majority of which has already been either budgeted or raised through private donations.

Approval of the design and the vote to proceed was the only item on the agenda Monday night.