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Livingston Parish News: Albany Gets $100,000 for Vets Memorial

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Location: Albany

Livingston Parish News: Albany Gets $100,000 for Vets Memorial

U.S. Rep. Richard Baker presented nearly $100,000 to local residents Saturday for a Veterans Memorial.

A 20-foot by 30-foot American flag will fly over Albany High School on an 80-foot flagpole after a dedication ceremony, tentatively scheduled for October, Albany Alderman and former U.S. Marine Lloyd "Gene" Glascock said.

Glascock is part of a committee consisting of Donald Stilley, S.D. Kinchen, Paul "Buddy" Farkas, George Stewart, William "Billy" Prokop, Steve Ivanyisky, Johnny Gill, Allen "Bootsie" Jones, Dillard Stewart, Glennis Bennett, Johnny Stewart, Raymond Bankston, Ivy "Buddy" Harper, Jr. and Keith Lott who have been working on the memorial project since 2003.

They sold 190 bricks at $60 per brick, each inscribed with a serviceman's name, to be incorporated into the memorial walls. They also raised money for the memorial by selling jambalaya dinners, mostly to veterans' groups.

The committee's plans for a $150,000 memorial were greatly expanded after Parish President Mike Grimmer became involved in 2005.

"I figured it would take about 50 years to raise the money selling jambalaya," Grimmer said at Saturday's ceremony, "so I talked to Congressman Baker."

Baker, R-Baton Rouge, who sits on the Veterans Affairs Committee, saw the project's potential and soon other Louisiana congressmen were also helping to raise federal funds.

"The local fundraisers were doing well, though," Baker said. "I heard they were selling red beans and rice one bean at a time."

"I can't think of a more appropriate place than this," Baker said, indicating the high school campus. "Young people will ask questions about those whose names are written on the memorial."

The memorial will initially consist of a plaza and five concave wall segments built out of bricks bearing the names of servicemen and servicewomen. Eleven 40-foot flagpoles will flank the American flag, for the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Merchant Marines, POW/MIA, Louisiana State, the parish, AMVETS and the American Legion. Phase One will have 10,000 bricks, and another 10,000 will be added later, Glascock said.

Sid Kinchen, the School Board member for District 9, and liaison with the memorial committee, attended the presentation Saturday, along with Rep. Mert Smiley, Parish Councilman Eddie Wagner, Albany Mayor Thomas Stewart, Alderman Ed Harris, former School Board member Julius Prokop, Principal Bruce Chapin, Mike Futrell, representing U.S. Senator David Vitter, and grant writer Karla Cormier.

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