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Larece Galer brings you the latest military news. To submit items for this column or the online listings, send them to: The News-Herald, Attn.: Larece Galer, 7085 Mentor Ave., Willoughby, OH 44094; fax to 440-975-2293; or via email to

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Ohio Veterans' Memorial Park events

Ohio Veterans’ Memorial Park
8005 Cleveland Massillon Rd.,                     Clinton, Ohio 44216

 President Harry S Trumen is quoted as saying "Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service our our country can never be repaid.  They have earned our undying gratitude.  America will never forget their sacrifices.  This quote is a perfect example of why the many volunteers at the Ohio Veterans' Memorial park are holding a very special dedication at noon on Saturday, August 4, 2012.  The dedication is  to honor the currently 304 brave Ohioans that gave their life in Beirut, the Gulf War, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation New Dawn.

The Ohio Veterans' Memorial Park is a 501(c)(3) organization established in 2006 for the sole purpose of creating a Memorial Park to commemorate the service and sacrifice of Ohio men and women of the Armed Forces of the United States.  Our mission is to interpret and preserve Ohio's military history for all generations so they may truly understand the cost of freedom.  The park is to be a source of pride and solace to the families and comrades of the veterans honored there and to provide an unforgettable lesson in history to all who visit. 

The Ohio Veterans' Memorial Park is located at 8005 Cleveland Massillon Rd, Clinton, OH 44216.  The parks sits on 2.7 acres of land that was donated by the Clinton Cemetery.  We held our first dedication and ground breaking ceremony in August 2007.  On May 17, 2009 we dedicated the longest freestanding military monument which is 125 foot long black granite wall engraved with the names of the 3,095 men and woman who gave their life in Vietnam.  The east side of the wall depicts photos as well as a description of each of the wars in Ohio's history beginning with the war of 1812 to the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.   On May 17th we also unveiled a Gold Star Mother Statue holding a US Flag which sits facing the names of the 3095 and looks down on the name of Sharon Lane the only female honored on the wall from Vietnam.  On November 13, 2010 we dedicated the largest POW/MIA pond in the country and on November 11, 2011 we dedicated a Cobra AH-1F attack Helicopter.  In addition to these larger attractions at the park.  When you arrive at the park you will begin your journey on the main brick walkway.  As you continue down the main path toward the wall, there are individual walkways and a flag to honor each branch of service.  The walkway is paved with engraved bricks; each brick tells a story about an individual or organization honoring one of our many service members living and dead.

On August 4, 2012 the Ohio Veterans' Memorial Park will be holding its 2nd Annual Concert in the Park and 5K/10K Run.  This event is an annual fundraiser to help pay for, grow and maintain the park.  This year the event is being held to raise approximately $18,000 so we can honor the currently 304 brave Ohio men and women lost in Beirut, the Gulf War, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation New Day by etching their name on to the East side of the wall.  The  2nd Annual Concert in the Park includes a car show sponsored by Don Sitts Auto Sales from 10 am - 2 pm and 8 hours of live continues music which will begin at 3:00 pm.  The cost is $10 children 12 and under free. 

The 5K/10K registration starts at 6:00 am and the run starts at 7:30 am.  Cost until July 25th is 5K = $20; 10K = $25 and July 26 - race day 5K = $25; 10K = $30.  On-line registration will be accepted until 5:00 pm on August 3rd at  Runners can also donate an additional $10 to have the name of one of the 304 HEROES added to the back of their race t-shirt.

The Dedication is free and open to the public and begins at 12:00 pm.  There will be several Gold Star families giving a short speech to honor their son or daughter.  Jason A Domingues the Assistant Director of the Department of Veteran Services will be joining us and LCPL Mathew Wojtecki a US Marine and author of "Every Other Four" will be one of the guest speakers.  

Some of the Heroes that will be Honored:
Kevin Kessler 32 of Canton was a Staff Sergeant in the US Army and was assigned to the 4th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4thInfantry Division.  SSG Kessler died August 30, 2010 in the Arghandab River Valley, Afghanistan.  SSG Kessler was a 1996 graduate of East Canton High school.  SSG Kessler was the husband of Adrian, a son to Kristine & Rod Williams and Larry & Sue Kessler.   SSG Kessler was a brother to Emily, Laura, and Daniel.  Most important SSG Kessler was expecting a child at the time of his death.  SGT Swanberg said “I saw him rise through the ranks of SPC, SGT, and SSG. I was there for each promotion. HE is the true definition of a hero. HE was and IS the definition of what an NCO is and what everyone should strive to be. He was truly a good man, and I, along with many MANY others, will miss him.”*

Joseph A Bauer 27 of Cincinnati was a SPC of the US Army.  SPC Bauer was  assigned to 5th Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment, 17th fires brigade died July 24, 2010.  SPC Bauer was the husband of Misty, the son of Roger Bauer and Lynn Bauer, SPC had five brothers, two sisters, four half sisters, a half brother, a step sister and a stepFamily members described SPC Bauer as reserved and quiet, focused and determined, but with a big heart.

Marine Lance Cpl Stacy A Dryden 22 of North Canton died October 19, 2008 while serving as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  Lance Cpl Dryden was a 2004 graduate of GlenOak High School and is survived by her mother Thea Dryden and father Ronald "Scott" Dryden and a sister to Jake.  Sgt Johnson a fellow marine has been quotes as saying "She made a difference.  She was the first one to lend a helping hand to those that needed it and comfort them when they were down."

Senior Airman Alecia Good 23 of Broadview Heights died February 17, 2006 while serving as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.  Senior Airman Good was a 2001 graduate of Brecksville-Broadview Heights Hish School.  SrA Good was survived by her daughter, her partnes Paul and Claire, a twin sister Ashley and her brother Paul.

Pvt Heath D Warner 19 of the US Marines died on November 22, 2006 in a roadside bombing in Iraq.  Pvt Warner attended Canton McKinley High School and enlisted in the Marines his Senior year.   His family said that Pvt Warner dreamed of going into the military from the time he was 5 and one of the photo memories they have is of their sone wearing the Army uniform of his grandfather.  Pvt Warner's father describes him as "a selfless young man" His brother Chandler described Pvt Warner as "his best friend".  Scott Warner the father of Pvt Warner will be speaking during the dedication ceremony.

For a complete schedule of events you can visit

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