Amvets lobby for memorial in Lake Frank Jackson park

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 24, 2019

Members of the Opp Amvets Post 23 are hoping to partner with Alabama State Parks to install veterans memorial in the scenic overlook of Lake Frank Jackson State Park.

Amvets’ Danny Donaldson pitched the idea to the Opp City Council Tuesday night.

“Opp does not have a veteran’s memorial park,” Donaldson said. “All of our neighboring communities have a veteran’s memorial park. Elba, Florala, Andalusia, Enterprise, Geneva, they all have them.”

Donaldson said that Amvets members have approached the State of Alabama’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ southern operations manager Lamar Pendergrass and Greg Lean, who is director of Alabama State Parks.

“We approached them with the idea of taking the scenic park and developing it into a veteran’s memorial scenic overlook,” Donaldson said. “Both of them were very receptive of it. They wanted to be sure that the mayor and council members were involved with this as well, because the city is paying the light bill, trash and grass cutting out there.”

The only cost to the city that would be associated with the new park would be continuing those services, Donaldson said.

“The funding for the park, if it is approved, would come from donations, grants and fundraising,” Donaldson said. “We think we can handle it, but it’s not going to be an overnight happening. I don’t think it will even happen before the end of the year.”

There will be four wooden signs throughout the park that the AMVETS will make themselves that say “Honor the Sacrifice,” “Respect the Courage,” “Respect is Earned” and “United We Stand.” There will also be granite monuments for each conflict.

Donaldson said that the AMVETS will keep up with cleaning the park.

“The question keeps coming up about who’s going to maintain it,” Donaldson said. “I for one am, and we have about eight or nine other AMVETS. We are going to do the cleaning, we are going to do the treatment of the bushes and the trees, we are going to rake the leaves and we are going to keep it cleaned up. We will be out there probably every day, because this is our baby.”

Donaldson said that he has talked to numerous veterans around the area that are all on board for the new park.

“They all say that they want to help,” Donaldson said. “Hopefully they are speaking the truth.”

One of the things for funding the park, Donaldson said, is selling conflict bricks.

“We will probably use Bricks R Us, because they do a lot things like this,” Donaldson said. “What we will do is sell these bricks to people and they can put their loved one’s name, the dates they were in and the conflict they served in. Then we are going to have a wall with these bricks placed at the memorial.”

Opp Mayor Becky Bracke said that this project is a great idea for the City of Opp.

“We really appreciate all that you AMVETS do for the City of Opp,” Bracke said. “This is such a great idea.”