The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

May 19, 2012

Memorial Day effort slated to purchase traveling wall

ENID — Efforts to raise the money needed to bring a Vietnam Traveling Wall for permanent display at Enid Woodring Regional Airport will get a boost over Memorial Day weekend.

On May 26, booths will be set up at Jumbo Foods West, Lowe’s and Walmart to collect donations toward the remaining $195,000 needed by the end of October to bring the dream of an Enid monument into reality.

Booths will be set up during the Memorial Day service being held at the Wall of Honor Veterans Park at Woodring.

“With the support of our community, we will purchase the wall this summer and have it in place for dedication during the Memorial Day service of 2013,” said Dan Ohnesorge, who is heading up the fundraising effort with Bob Farrell.

Ohnesorge, manager of Enid Woodring Regional Airport and retired vice commander for Vance Air Force Base, and Farrell, a retired Air Force chief master sergeant, have been working toward the goal for several months.

The total cost of the project is $600,000.

Donations so far include a $250,000 matching pledge and a pledge from D.C. Bass Construction to oversee and orchestrate the complete setup of the wall and the construction work that will go into it.

Bob Berry, chairman of the construction company, has issued a challenge to other construction companies to join in the work.

“We’ve got a year to do what is a 90-day job, so we can schedule it out,” Berry said.

Other companies who want to help with the work will be able to contact Bass Construction.

“We will try to come up with a very flexible schedule so we can get this done by next Memorial Day,” Berry said.

Berry said the project means more than simply honoring those who died in the Vietnam war: It makes a statement to business and political leaders that Enid stands above the crowd.

“I just can’t think of another thing that we could do in Enid that would make this kind of a statement,” Berry said.

The construction work amounts to $100,000 of the project cost.  

“To date, we have raised approximately $55,000,” Ohnesorge said.  “This leaves us with $195,000 left to raise.”

The Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall is more than 380 feet long and 8 feet high at its tallest point. It is made of anodized aluminum.

It contains 58,272 names of those who lost their lives during the war. Oklahoma is the state with the second-highest number of names on the wall. Sixteen of them are from Enid.

If the wall is permanently brought to Enid, it will be the only one of its kind within a 300-mile radius.

The Vietnam Memorial Wall Project is a 501(c)(3) organization, meaning all donations are tax-deductible. Donations can be mailed to Vietnam Memorial Wall Project, c/o Security National Bank, P.O. Box 1272, Enid, OK 73702, or taken to the bank.

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