The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

November 8, 2012

Vietnam Memorial Wall replica headed to Enid

Staff reports
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Fundraisers have reached their goal to buy a replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall and bring it permanently to Enid.

Now, they need to finish raising the money to provide a dignified setting for the wall at Enid Woodring Regional Airport.

“We have contracted to purchase the wall,” said Dan Ohnesorge, co-chair of the Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall Project committee. He is a retired Air Force colonel and former vice wing commander at Vance Air Force Base.

The money will be used to buy one of the American Veterans Traveling Tribute Memorial Walls from Texan Don Allen and permanently install it across from the Woodring Wall of Honor at the airport.

Allen is retiring the Texas-based wall and sold it to the Enid group for $500,000. Of that total, an anonymous donor pledged to match $250,000, meaning the committee needed to raise $250,000 to purchase the wall.

Another $100,000 is being raised to provide the setting for the wall.

To help raise that money, the committee will have a fundraiser 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Jumbo Foods locations at 2311 W. Willow and 221 S. 30th. Architect’s renderings of the wall and its proposed setting will be available.

“Here’s an opportunity to see what it will look like,” Ohnesorge said.

Organizers hope to raise at least $10,000 at Saturday’s event. So far, they have raised $25,000.

Plans for the memorial wall site at Woodring include backing it up with a berm to enhance its display and protect it from the Oklahoma winds, along with laying sidewalks, installing benches, lighting and fencing, and creating a parking area for visitors.

The Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall is more than 380 feet long and 8 feet high at its tallest point, 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 — 16 of them from Enid.

The wall will be elevated somewhat from the ground, said committee co-chair Bob Farrell, a retired Air Force chief master sergeant and a Vietnam-era veteran, to help with such things as drainage.

“When you look at it, you’re a little more awestruck,” he said.

The final payment for the wall will be made later this month, Farrell said, and there will be a ceremony Nov. 30 when it is brought to Enid.

Details about the ceremony have not yet been worked out, Ohnesorge said.

One thing that is definite, though, is the wall will be up at Woodring in time for the annual Memorial Day ceremony, Ohnesorge and Farrell said.

Any individual or group donating $1,000 or more will have their names permanently engraved on a plaque to be displayed at the site. But donations of any amount are welcome.

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 donations can be made in person at any SNB branch.