‘Honor Wall’ celebrates veterans

MARIETTA – Photos of soldiers in combat gear, framed orders to go to war, icons of each U.S. military branch and many other patriotic bits line two halls of Harmar Hill’s Marietta Center.

The 150-bed center for rehabilitation, long-term care and dementia units, at 117 Bartlett St., is celebrating resident and employee veterans through an “Honor Wall,” which had a dedication Friday morning.

Denise Shample, administrator of the center and a veteran herself, said the wall is a part of a program “We Honor Veterans.”

“We have pictures of our veteran residents and current employees,” she said.

There are many images dotting the walls, sayings of “United We Stand” and images of the flag raising at Iwo Jima, and Shample said it’s all very significant for those who have served.

“That’s what we’re trying to do now – honor our residents and the employees who served in the military,” she said.

Shample said the reactions from residents have been encouraging and touching.

“We’ve actually had some veterans stop (and look at the walls) and start crying,” she said.

One veteran attending the dedication Friday had many images of when he served overseas.

“That’s all my stuff from when I was over there in Vietnam,” said Donald Petry, 66, of Belpre.

While Petry is not a resident of the center, his wife is. He said he’s happy that the facility is recognizing not only him, but other veterans, too.

“It’s great,” he said. “It makes me feel proud.”

Mike Francis, Marine Corps League Detachment #1087 senior vice commandant, said being a part of the dedication is just one service the league can do for veterans, and sharing humorous events that happened in the military is another one of them.

“We visit 14 facilities regularly,” he said. “We visit hundreds of veterans. A lot of them have no one to come see them; we’re the only visitors they get…Being able to brighten someone’s day with a funny story they can relate to is worth it. It lets them know they’re not forgotten.”

Though the images cover two long hallways, Shample said the work is not yet finished.

“We’re going to be building on it,” she said, adding it could very well reach out to veterans not just residing in the center, but those in the community.

Marietta Mayor Joe Matthews attended the dedication and said he’s pleased with what the Marietta Center is doing.

“I think it’s fantastic,” he said. “Anytime you can honor the veterans, it’s a great thing.”