Long-time plans for a Madison County veteran’s center are finally on the drawing board, said Jerry Owens, an Army veteran and member of the American Legion Post 12 in Richmond.
After persistent efforts by Post 12 Commander Everett King, Congress agreed to allow the Blue Grass Army Depot to give 10 acres of land to Madison County, provided the county use the land for a veteran’s center, Owens said.
The center will be off Irvine Road (KY 52) near the county fairgrounds. Once the property is officially turned over to the veterans, commanders from various veteran organizations will work out the details about the new center, Owens said.
“We’re hoping to have a large meeting area, a kitchen, office space for each organization and maybe use the remaining acreage for a playground area,” he said.
The center will be home to several veteran organizations, including the American Legion Post 12, American Legion Riders, American Legion 40 and 8, American Legion Auxiliary, Sons of the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Marine Corp League Det. 1012, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7098 and Vietnam Veterans.
Any veteran is welcome, as well, Owens said, even if they are not a member of an organization. He also hopes to host community events and bingo in the future, which would be open to the public.
Although the property was donated by the county, the veterans organizations are responsible for funding the center. They are currently planning various fundraising events until enough money is raised.
At this point in the process, Owens has no idea how much the project will cost, but some money has been saved for a number of years in anticipation of the opportunity to build a center, he said.
Several years ago, there had been plans for a center off Battlefield Memorial Highway, but the plans fell through, he said.
In the meantime, Post 12 has been meeting in the basement of the Richmond Parks and Recreation building, and in a property on West Irvine Street before that, Owen said.
“Until I became active in the American Legion, I didn’t realize the need for a center like this — for the homeless veterans, wounded veterans and veterans in general,” he said. “We need to provide a place for veterans to be together.”
Upcoming fundraiser for veterans
Veteran's Contracting is scheduled to sponsor a free pig roast Saturday at 2 p.m. in the parking lot of The Copper Still at 212 W Water St. A free concert will start at 9 p.m. featuring Corey Kenton.
There will be a raffle and the proceeds will benefit the Kentucky Wounded Warrior Project. For details, contact John McCullough at 624-8110.
Upcoming school programs honoring veterans
Local schools are inviting veterans to their Veterans Day programs this week and next:
• Daniel Boone Elementary — Friday, 1 p.m. Fifth grade performance of "God Bless America" in sign language and presentation of veterans who are friends and family members of students, staff and faculty.
• Glenn Marshall Elementary — Friday, 9:45 a.m. Performances of patriotic music and a slideshow of GME veteran family members. Veterans also will be served a special lunch after the program.
• Kingston Elementary — Friday, 1:30 p.m. Morning Pointe resident are invited to attend.
• Kirksville Elementary — Tuesday, Nov. 13 at 2:15 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Veteran's Day Patriotic Musical performance.
• Kit Carson Elementary— Friday, 1:30 p.m. Veteran's Day program.
• Mayfield Elementary — Friday, 9 a.m. Musical presentations and veteran recognition with a reception following the program.
• Shannon Johnson Elementary — Friday, 1:30 p.m. Poetry reading, musical performances and a presentation on famous and local veterans.
• Silver Creek Elementary — Friday, 9 a.m. Veteran breakfast, presentation of veteran family members and slideshow.
• Waco Elementary — Friday, 1 p.m. Veteran speaker, student musical performances and refreshments.
• White Hall Elementary — Monday, Nov. 12 at 9 a.m., Veteran breakfast, musical performance.
• B. Michael Caudill Middle School — Tuesday, Nov. 13 at 9 a.m., musical performances, student presentations, introduction of veterans and light refreshments.
• Clark Moores Middle School — Friday, 10 a.m., concert in the gymnasium.
• Farristown Middle School — Friday, 9 a.m. Guest speakers, military memorabilia on display, veteran and active duty slideshow presentation and veteran's breakfast following the program.
• Madison Middle School — Monday, Nov. 12 at 9 a.m. Presentation of Colors by MCHS Jr. ROTC, introduction of veterans, student presentations.
• Model Laboratory School — Friday, 9 a.m. elementary assembly. Presentation by EKU's ROTC Color Guard, musical presentations, poems and readings prepared by students. Middle/High school assembly begins at 2 p.m. with a panel of veterans answering questions about their military experience.