Veterans Memorial damaged in City Park

PARKERSBURG – Damage to the Stepping Stones of Honor Veterans Memorial, located by the pond in City Park, could cost more than $1,000 to repair, veterans museum officials said.

The damage is suspected to have been caused by bicycles and skateboards being used on the memorial, said Gary Farris, founder and director of the Veterans Museum of the Mid-Ohio Valley in Parkersburg.

The memorial is by the pond-side entrance of the City Park, close to the other memorials, Farris said. The monument was damaged during the weeks leading up to, and during, the Fourth of July celebrations at the park, Farris said.

The monument is “covered in black marks,” which Farris suspects were made either by skateboard wheels or bicycle wheels. More than 50 of the bricks in the monument are chipped and cracked, which Farris suspects are the results of the same misuse, he said.

“The blank bricks on the memorial can be easily replaced, but the engraved ones will have to be re-engraved, which will cost us money,” Farris said.

Farris fears the Veterans Museum of the Mid-Ohio Valley does not have enough money in the budget to re-engrave the damaged bricks for the monument.

The museum has no paid workers to clean the marks off the monument or replace the bricks, Farris said.

“Someone had a ball scooting around there on something. It’s disrespectful,” Farris said.

Nearby, a brass sign indicating where the veterans museum is located has been repeatedly scratched and is in bad condition, Farris said.

This is not the only memorial which was misused over the holiday weekend, Farris said. On Monday, Farris and workers concerned about the monument found that people had left discarded food and drinks on top of and around the nearby American Legion World War II memorial, Farris said.

When citizens find themselves near a memorial of any kind, they should refrain from riding bicycles or skateboards on it, Farris said.

They should also refrain from sitting on the monument with lawn chairs, as the legs of these damage the monument, Farris said.

Residents are welcome to walk across the monument’s bricks and to approach any monument in a respectful manner, Farris said. However, they should not eat or drink, or leave their garbage, on the monument, he said.

Food should be enjoyed at the picnic tables provided by the City Park, Farris said.

“People should be respectful. Our veterans’ names are listed there,” Farris said.