SILVERHILL, Alabama — Plans were presented to the Silverhill Town Council at its meeting on Monday, Sept. 16 for the expansion of the Silverhill Veterans War Memorial.
Frankie Kucera and Lamar Giles with the Silverhill Veterans Memorial Organization presented the plans to add 4-foot by 8-foot stones next to the memorial, which was dedicated in March of 2017, located in Paul Anderson Park, across from town Hall at the corner of Alabama 104 and County Road 55 in Silverhill.
“Right now we have about 600 names,” Kucera said. The memorial will include first name, last name and middle initials of veterans from Silverhill and the surrounding areas, along with branch of service. Those killed in action will be designated by a star next to their name, and designations could also be added for those Missing In Action (MIA) and Prisoner of War (POW).
The annual Silverhill Memorial Day Weekend Car Show, held each year on the Saturday before Memorial Day, is an event to raise funds for the memorial, and proceeds from that event, which drew more than 140 cars, and a quilt raffle which raised an additional $2,000, put the Silverhill Veterans Memorial Organization, a non-profit company, over its goal of raising $30,000 to add to the memorial, Kucera said.
Names of veterans from World War II to the present will be placed on both sides of the memorial.
For several years, the Gear Jammers Car Club, of which Kucera is a founding member and past president, has been hosting its annual Silverhill Car Show on Memorial Day weekend.
Started as a fundraiser for the Oscar Johnson Memorial Library in Silverhill, fundraising focus of the event shifted in 2011 after a tornado caused extensive damage to the town’s Little Bohemian Hall. The event has also served as a fundraiser for Catholic Social Services, Project C.A.R.E. Food Pantry and Silverhill Boy Scout Troop 42.
After work on the Little Hall was completed in December of 2014 with dedication ceremonies held in January of 2015, focus of the car show shifted to raising funds for the war memorial.
The towering structure made of polished black granite with etched artwork on both sides was designed by Paul Morris of PM Printing in Summerdale, along with metal “stationary flags” depicting all branches of the military.
The flagpoles were donated by Woodman Life Insurance Co. The concrete work was donated by a veteran, Chris Traughber and the landscaping and finishing work was done by town employees, acting Superintendent of Utilities Scottie Smith, Tommy Moss, Jamie Morton and Justin Matthews.
“We want to keep going,” Kucera said. “We want to keep adding names and adding to the memorial. We want to honor as many people from this town and the surrounding area as we can.”
The group was hoping to have the additions completed by Veterans Day, but Kucera said it will take more time to complete the project.
“We don’t want to rush things. They are working on it and we want to give them enough time to make sure it’s done right,” Kucera said. “We’re aiming for the first week of December (when the town hosts its annual Christmas festivities), but we’re at this point we’re just not sure.”
The organization plans to continue to raise funds for future expansion of the project.
If you would like to donate to the project you can mail your contribution to the Silverhill Veterans Memorial Organization Inc., P.O. Box 94, Silverhill, AL 36576. You can also donate through the group’s Go Fund Me account online and through the Silverhill Veterans Memorial Organization page on Facebook.
In other business Sept. 16, the council discussed replacing the refrigerator at the Silverhill Community Center.
Mayor Jared Lyles told council members that the refrigerator had been repaired for a second time and rather than spend any more money on repairs, they needed to look into replacing it.
Council members also discussed the purchase of separate refrigerator and freezer units rather than purchasing one unit. Council member Gerald Ardoin said he could purchase two commercial units online for what it would cost for one unit from a big box store.
Ardoin said he would look into pricing for the two units and report back to the council at a future meeting.
In other business Sept. 16, the council:
•Tabled action on the Central Baldwin Chamber of Commerce advertising/investment opportunities. The deadline to return the form back to the Chamber is Oct. 28, said the town’s Chamber representative Mary deLaunay.
•Discussed plans to purchase plants for the town’s annual Arbor Day celebration, which is held in February. Committee Chairman Carolyn Koch said she had been in contact with Steve Shackelford with Field in Bloom Nursery. Town council members agreed on the purchase of potted plants for the town’s annual give-away.
•Scheduled a meeting for 5 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 30 to discuss the 2019-20 fiscal year budget, which is set to begin Oct. 1.
•Looked into updating the standard building codes used by the town. Lyles said he had been in contact with the town’s building inspector about updating to the 2018 codes. The town currently operates under the 2012 codes.