Summit County Historian NaVee Vernon noticed last year that the county did not have a proper memorial to honor its veterans, past and present. So, she planned one in her budget and employed the service of a local artist to build one in front of the County Courthouse in Coalville.
"I don't know how we can be thankful enough toward the veterans," Vernon said. "I think it's something we forget to do sometimes."
The veterans' monument will be constructed in front of the County Courthouse in the middle of the three flagpoles in the front lawn. Although Vernon said the specifics of the design of the monument itself are under wraps until the Memorial Day unveiling ceremony, a slab of rock that will serve as its foundation has already been set with the help of Moore's Towing and Recovery and Geary Construction.
Coalville artist Eric Blonquist was brought on by Vernon to design and create the monument. He divulged that the piece will be stainless steel and feature a flag and plaques with veterans' names. The project took a personal tone for him, he said, since his oldest stepson recently joined the Marine Corps.
"I feel really privileged that [Vernon] had enough faith in me to do it," Blonquist said. "It's one of those projects that's going to be there long after we're all gone."
The memorial ceremony will begin at the County Courthouse at 11 a.m. on Monday, May 26. Veterans are encouraged to wear red, white and blue ribbons that will be provided, while those with former or current military family members are encouraged to wear yellow ribbons.
The Summit County Sheriff's Office will present military honors with a 21-gun salute and veterans and community members can attend another ceremony afterwards at Coalville's cemetery.
Vernon said the county will also have a display of memorabilia from various veterans who have fought and died in past wars, complete with brief biographies and summaries of their service. She said the stories of veterans need to be told, regardless of whether those stories are "good or bad."
"We have no idea or concept of what went on unless they tell us," Vernon said. "We don't know what they went through."
Blonquist said he hopes veterans' memorials are created in other Summit County towns, but added he is glad one is being constructed in his hometown. He echoed Vernon's sentiments about honoring veterans.
"I've always thought I don't think our veterans get a thank-you near enough [as they should]," Blonquist said. "I hope that they can take a little bit of gratitude for all the things they've sacrificed for what we have now."
Summit County's Memorial Day ceremony will be held Monday, May 26, at 11 a.m. at the Summit County Courthouse, 60 N. Main Street in Coalville. For more information, contact NaVee Vernon at 435-336-3015, 435-336-3200 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.