Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, Department of Veterans Assistance Secretary Rick Thompson, and Medal of Honor recipient Hershel "Woody" Williams today dedicated the Gold Star Families Memorial Monument at the Donel C. Kinnard Memorial State Veterans Cemetery (DCKMSVC). The monument is a tribute to families who have lost a loved one in combat. It is the first of several Gold Star monuments slated to be installed at locations throughout the country.
"Our state is home to many men and women who have served with dedication and honor, some of whom have made the ultimate sacrifice. Today, we pay tribute to those left behind, the families who've lost a loved one in combat," Gov. Tomblin said. "West Virginians have always answered the call for help--whether here at home or halfway around the world. As we dedicate this monument, I hope we will all take a moment to remember those who've made the ultimate sacrifice and honor their families--the mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers. You are in our thoughts and prayers."
"When a family sends their son, daughter, brother or sister to defend America's freedoms, it isn't just the service member who is at war--it's the entire family," Secretary Thompson said. "The loved ones of those who pay the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country deserve our sincerest condolences, thanks and respect. I am proud to dedicate a monument in recognition of their courage and I am grateful to the Hershel "Woody" Williams Medal of Honor Foundation for working diligently to establish this tribute at the Donel C. Kinnard Memorial State Veterans Cemetery."
"West Virginia is known to have the most patriots per capita serving America, and lost more of her loved ones per capita in the Armed Forces than any other state," said Medal of Honor recipient Hershel "Woody" Williams. "The dedication of the Gold Star Families Memorial to those who gave one or more of their loved ones is long overdue, and it says to all those who suffered that loss, "We have not forgotten. We remember.'"
The Hershel "Woody" Williams Medal of Honor Foundation, established in 2012, pursues goals and objectives specific to Hershel "Woody" Williams' vision. The Foundation's projects currently include the promotion, creation, and implementation of Gold Star Families Memorial Monuments throughout the country.