Bob Parrish told the Barton County Commission Monday morning that he was in the high school class of 1945, the last class to be a part of the World War II draft. He, along with many of his classmates, went ahead and enlisted.
Parrish said he signed up at the Great Bend Army Air Field, home of the B-29 training program. He has since gone on to serve as mayor of Great Bend, help lead the effort for the B-29 Memorial at the Great Bend Municipal Airport and become one of the community’s leading historians.
He came to the commission Monday with this experience behind him and challenged the county residents to ante up and help finish the Golden Belt Veterans Memorial at the Golden Belt Memorial Park north of Great Bend.
“We need to close out this project,” he said. Earlier in the effort, he donated to the cause and helped see that the first of two planned stones with the names of veterans was dedicated on Veterans Day last November.
Now, he wants to challenge residents to come forward to polish off the second stone. He would like to see it dedicated this Veterans Day.
Each line costs $45. So, with 77 lines remaining, the total needed is about $3,500.
From previous donations, $1,800 remains to help needy veterans or to pay for entries for those who have died or have no family left in the area. That leaves about $1,700 that needs to be raised.
There are still a lot of folks coming into the County Administrator’ Office to buy engravings. But, there are also rolls of thousands of names of vets who have passed or who have no family in the area any longer.
There are plans for future expansion of the memorial after the second stone is set, so this can be an ongoing project. There have been many organizations and individuals who have chipped in thus far, but the need for more remains.
“We just need a little money here and a little money there,” Parrish said. He’s right and even small contributions help.
Let’s get this over the top so we can look down the road to making this monument even bigger so more deserving veterans can be recognized.