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Vietnam War memorial coming to Jefferson County in 2013

July 16, 2012

The Brookville Volunteer Fire Company (BVFC) held a boot drive in May to raise money to bring a moving Vietnam War memorial wall to Brookville for a five-day stay next summer. Many community organizations, groups and officials are working together to raise the funds. Pictured are (from left) volunteer firefighter Matt Yeager, BVFC Safety Officer Valerie Zents and volunteer firefighter Matt Battaglia. (Photo by Natalie Bruzda/The Punxsutawney Spirit)

BROOKVILLE — Numerous officials and local community groups are working together to bring a piece of history to Brookville next summer.

But it’s not an easy feat.

American Legion Post 102, county officials and interested agencies and individuals would like to bring a moving Vietnam War memorial wall to Brookville for a five-day stay from Aug. 21-25, 2013.

At a cost of almost $80,000 however, it’s going to take a lot of work and community support to see the goal through, Brookville American Veterans Traveling Tribute (AVTT) Secretary Valerie Zents said.

“The American Legion and the VFW have combined and are working with other community agencies to bring in the traveling tribute wall next year,” she said. “It’s a definite that it’s coming.”

The display is an 80-percent life-size replica of the Vietnam Wall located in Washington, D.C.

There is also a Gold Dog Tag display of all casualties from the War on Terror, a 9/11 Memorial, a law enforcement/firefighters tribute and numerous other tributes and displays, Zents said.

“It’s very moving,” she said. “It’s to honor all the veterans and service people. We wanted to give tribute to those who have died in the line of duty.”

Zents said she and other community members were inspired by the wall when it traveled through Brookville last year on its way to Clarion County.

But to bring the wall to Brookville for a weeklong stay won’t be without effort.

Zents said money needs to be raised for the actual wall and transport of the wall, but also for landscaping for the area around the wall, which will be placed at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds; security for the wall for the weeklong stay; and personnel to work during the wall’s stay.

Zents said she and her fellow Brookville AVTT members would like to bring in some guest speakers and are also looking for volunteers.

“We need people to man the computers, so if somebody's looking for a name, they can pull it up on the computer, and they can tell you where its located,” she said. “We also have to have people there to help with rubbings with paper and pencil. So we're taking this year to get all the funds together, and starting the first part of next year, we're going to get all the people lined up that we need.”

The Brookville Volunteer Fire Company (BVFC) is one organization that has recently helped in the effort to raise money for the wall.

The company held a boot drive in May to raise funds and brought in $2,700 in four hours.

“We were overwhelmed,” Zents said. “It’s just amazing how much we actually collected.”

She said the BVFC also plans to hold another boot drive Memorial Day 2013 for the same purpose.

“Hopefully, we can double that amount,” she said.

Zents said she is also hopeful the full amount will be raised before the wall’s arrival next August, which she thinks will be good for everyone in Jefferson County and surrounding areas to experience.

The wall includes a timeline and tutorial of the Vietnam War, and the 9/11 memorial is especially important for young children to see, Zents said.

“I think it's important on the emergency services side that people don't forget that there were so many firefighters and EMTs and paramedics and police officers who died that day on 9/11,” she said. “And the further we get from that point, we need to make sure that the next generation remembers it, much like my generation was taught about Pearl Harbor. I wasn't alive then, but I know that's an important part of history, and we need to remember.”

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