Braxton Citizens' News

Ireland Lion’s Club Repairs Veterans’ Memorial Wall

After two years of delays and extensive repairs to the foundation, the Ireland Lions Club will unveil the new Ireland Veterans’ Memorial on Sunday March 13th during the 40th Annual Irish Spring Festival’s Opening Ceremony at 12 pm. The repair project began in 2019 and was thought to only require six to eight months to complete. However, delays due to the pandemic, supply problems, costs of materials, as well as the engraving, required the completion date to be extended. “Now that the repairs are complete, there is not a more fitting time for the Ireland Community to re-dedicate the memorial and honor our local veterans than during our Annual Irish Spring Festival.” said Denton King, former Ireland Lions Club President. “The festival is the biggest event in our community and an appropriate time to pause in honor of our Veterans and their service.”
Kevin Gregory is the current Ireland Lions Club President and commented on the significance of the memorial for the community. “This memorial speaks to the dedication and selfless service of our veterans and their families that have ties to the Ireland community. It is truly amazing, in such a small community with a current population of only 530 people in barely seventeen square miles, that there are over 400 names engraved on these granite tablets. Selfless service runs deep in our community, generation after generation. When we re-dedicate this memorial to those men and women written upon these tablets, who have served this country, we will honor their service and recognize their sacrifices.”
The original monument was funded and built by the Ireland Lions Club in 2004. The names on the monument span four centuries from the Revolutionary War to the current conflicts of our time. Through the years, weather and plantings near the wall caused structural damage and made a complete renovation necessary. “We simply had to do something with the structure. The wall had begun to lean, and it was very unsafe.”, said King. “The original wall consisted of engraved bricks in honor of each veteran. The bricks were purchased by family members to commemorate their loved one’s service and the sale of those bricks funded the project.”
The primary delay in the renovation project was finding a supplier to replace and engrave the damaged bricks. The memorial committee had exhausted about every possible lead for the bricks and the project stalled. As it happens, good fortune was shining upon the Ireland Lions Club when a part-time local, Jim Newlon, became aware of the renovation dilemma and offered a solution. Mr. Newlon is the owner of Strata Granite and Marble in Canton, Ohio and offered to donate marble slabs for the project. Eddie Williams, former Lions Club Treasurer, said, “We want to thank Jim Newlon and Strata Granite and Marble for their very generous donation of twenty-two granite tablets. We would still be fundraising and trying to find suppliers if it weren’t for Mr. Newlon.”
Jim Clutter is the Ireland Lions Club Secretary and remarked on the outpouring of contributions to the project. “In addition to the donation of the granite tablets by Jim Newlon, the project was supported by a number of local businesses. Kiddie Monuments of Weston engraved the tablets at a greatly reduced rate and mounted the tablets on the wall, Bruffey Trucking of Ireland donated gravel and hauling, and members of the community and the Ireland Lions Club gave countless hours of planning, research, pouring over the details of names, rank, branches of service, and of course manual labor to repair the structure. This truly has been a community effort! We are truly proud of the teamwork and the resulting memorial.”
The Ireland Veteran’s Memorial Dedication ceremony will be held at 1200 pm, Sunday March 13th at the Ireland Community Building in Ireland, West Virginia. Ireland is a beautiful, picturesque hamlet that lies just beyond the Braxton/Lewis County line on the Gauley Turnpike (north from Flatwoods on US Hwy 19). Local veteran groups are welcomed to attend the dedication and may contact Lion President Kevin Gregory at 580-284-1564 for more information.