From Staff Reports

June 15, 2008 - Veterans Memorial organizers seek sponsors and stories for the future tribute to the soldiers and sailors of Hopkins CountyBy PATTI SELLS, News-Telegram Feature Writer

As plans for the Hopkins County Veterans Memorialprogress, fund raising efforts and ideas by its committee members continue to boost interest, involvement and donations from the community.

The Adopt-A-Veteran program is the latest effort. Members of the community can sponsor area soldiers and sailors who will be listed on the computer kiosks that will located at the entrance of the Veterans Memorial for a $50 donation. The sponsor's name will be added alongside the name of their adopted veteran.

Obviously, contributors may choose to honor a family member or friend, but their are a multitude of past veterans who have no one remaining survivors.

"World War I [veterans] and earlier have no family left to honor them," said Vickie Lee, a Veterans Memorial committee member. "We have thousands of names. A program will randomly pick a veteran for you."

And information on the kiosk, according to Lee, will not be limited to name, rank, branch of service, awards and dates. Veterans Memorial volunteers hope to gather stories about the veterans' experiences in the military.

"We want as many stories as we can get," she said. "Some of the stories I have are just amazing. And that's what we want to share with everyone."

Pictures are also welcome.

"We would love to have pictures, to be able to put a face with the name," explained Lee.

Lee believes the kiosk and memorial will be an "awesome" educational tool for the community.

"These are people from our county," Lee emphasized. "I think it will really open eyes and touch lives to tell their stories."

For more information, call Veterans Memorial Committee Chairman Clayton McGraw at 903-885-1551. Information and pictures may also be dropped off at Texas Art & Frame, 206 Church St..

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