Small donations are now being accepted toward construction of the Veterans Memorial Walk at Bryant Commons, according to the Hinesville Military Affairs Committee’s subcommittee chairman George Holtzman.
He said until recently, the smallest donation accepted was $5,000 for ornamental trees along the walk. With nearly $104,000 now raised, he said they are accepting smaller donations to buy “pavers” made of Georgia gray granite.
The bricks, with engraved names or message, will line the walkway, the finish helping prevent the walk from being slippery when wet, he said.
“I think the pavers will be dispersed along the walk to prevent monotony,” Holtzman said. “It’ll be like putting pieces of a puzzle together with different paver sizes 6x12, 12x12, 12x18, 18x18 and 24x24. The cost depends on size and the amount of engraving.”
Holtzman said a 6x12 paver has room for two lines of engraving with introductory leads such as “in memory of” followed by the veterans’ rank, name and service would cost $150. A 24x24 paver with eight lines of engraving would cost $1,000.
Holtzman said Fort Stewart commander, Maj. Gen. Mike Murray, and his wife Jane recently bought a 24x24 paver. HMAC member Jeff Ashmen, who is taking the lead for selling the pavers, also purchased a 24x24 paver.
“My father was a World War II Navy veteran,” Ashmen said. “Three of my brothers served in Vietnam. One was a Marine; the other two were in the Army.”
The retired command sergeant major smiled as it occurred to him he forgot to mention he served three tours in Iraq. He said each engraved line of a paver could have up to 22 characters, regardless the size. A typical engraving for a 12x12 paver, which would cost $250, might say “in remembrance of” followed by the veterans’ rank, name and military branch followed by wars, campaigns or Bible verses:
Ashmen said they plan to be open-minded about what could be engraved, but they will not allow foul language or anything they consider distasteful.
“There are parameters,” he said. “We want to keep it respectful, things that are in good taste. We want to be able to recognize the service of all American veterans with a ‘thank you’ that applies to all veterans, past and present, local and across the nation…
“The pavers allow everyone an opportunity to donate to the memorial. It gives family and friends a way to pay a lasting tribute to their veteran. I think it also allows local businesses a way to pay tribute to this community of veterans.”
Ashmen and Holtzman say they hope to soon have the memorial’s website include a link to allow anyone to buy pavers online. For more information about the Veterans Memorial Walk, go to www.veteransmemorialhinesville.com. Until a link is available on the website, those interested in buying a paver can email Ashman at email@example.com.