For years there have been plans to install a Veterans Memorial Garden on Front Street. Over time the plans evolved and motivation ebbed and flowed. This year, however, we finally were able to start putting a plan in motion to get our Veterans Memorial installed. Coming into this AmeriCorps year it was important to me to leave a lasting impact on the Thomas community. One that would remain long after I am gone. I wanted to work on a project that would bring something positive and much needed in the Thomas community. This memorial seemed like the perfect project. After many hours of trying to figure out the best way to implement this memorial garden, I decided to go with something simple. A little garden full of bright colors and a plaque to honor not only the veterans but also the coal miners. After speaking with Mayor Matt and learning about previous plans for the green space that would eventually become the memorial, I was so excited to finally get started. Though it is only the beginning, I am glad I can leave Thomas with a place to pay their respects to those who served their country and the community.
After months of planning and attempting to find funding for this project, I was awarded a grant through the Tucker County Cultural District Authority, thanks to them it was possible to get this project off the ground. I worked alongside NHT board members, Christine Kozan and Alyssa Hanna to dig out the space that would eventually become the garden. After a few hours and hitting literally the old brick road (I wish I was kidding) we finally had the base of the garden. After picking out a variety of flowers that would not only provide amazing color for most of the year, but would also do well is the area. With the help of the Tucker County Girls Scouts and the two days they were able to help us make the space look more like a garden. Soon we'll be installing a flagpole donated to us by the West Virginia Gold Star Mothers and a plaque honoring the veterans and coal miners from Thomas. In the future, as funding allows we are hoping to be able to add a simple walkway as well as benches that will allow people to sit slightly away from the hustle of Front Street. We would like to thank everyone who aided in the creation of the Veterans Memorial Garden whether you contributed to the original design plan, helped with the purchasing of plants, edited the grant proposal that allowed this project to be funded, or helped put the physical plants in the ground, a project that has been years in the making is finally underway. It is my hope that this memorial garden will serve as a place of gratitude, a place where people can honor those who served.