Honoring those who serve
The Wall of Honor at Veterans Park has been completed recently and dedication is scheduled. Retired from the Air Force as a lieutenant colonel, Don Meek of Horseshoe Bend's dream of a wall to honor veterans past and future is finally realized.
"I always wanted to do something at Veterans Park," Meek said.
Meek attended the dedication of the Ash Flat Veterans Memorial and that is when, he said, inspiration struck.
"I figured well, we could have something here like that," he said.
"The amazing thing about this project is we finished it in under a year and didn't use any taxpayer funds or city funds. It was strictly from people who purchased the bricks," Meek said.
The wall has 240 brick spaces, most of which are filled. As of press time there were only 25 brick spaces still available for purchase.
The project started in April of 2007 with the pouring of the concrete foundation and through the sale of engraved bricks the funds were made possible along with help from a special donor. A single anonymous donor gave $7,000 to the project, Meek said.
"I decided to have the wall not only for veterans but also for those in the service, prisoners of war, National Guard and just anybody that was in the military. That is whom it is for," Meek said.
There are several additions to accompany the wall in the works. Currently the most tangible is a 1942 Army Jeep.
According to Meek, he was driving home from Mountain Home and something off the road caught his eye. Meek had been searching for an item and he quickly recognized what he had been looking for, an old jeep.
"I drove up and took a look at it but nobody was home. I contacted the lady later and she agreed to donate it to the American Legion here in Horseshoe Bend for $1," Meek said.
The Jeep is currently being restored and will be onsite soon.
Another attraction that Meek is working toward is a military museum. Across the road from the wall is an old red building once used by the Horseshoe Bend Fire Department, which Meek said is a good candidate for the facility.
"I was thinking of restoring it into an Air Force Operations building from the Korean War era. I have pictures of the squadron I was in, in Korea. I think it would be a good draw, but I will need donations for that," Meek said.
The wall project was estimated to have cost around $10,000.
Exhibits at Veterans Parks will continue to expand as funds become available, according to Meek.
The Wall of Honor will hold its dedication ceremony Memorial Day, May 26 at Veterans Park in Horseshoe Bend at 11 a.m.
For more information concerning donations, brick purchases and future projects contact Don Meek at 870-670-4479.