Honoring local heroes

Veterans’ memorial to be dedicated March 18 in Silverhill

By John Underwood / john@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 3/8/17

SILVERHILL, Alabama — Dedication ceremonies for the newly completed Silverhill Veterans War Memorial will be held beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 18. The memorial is located in Paul Anderson …

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Honoring local heroes

Veterans’ memorial to be dedicated March 18 in Silverhill

Posted

SILVERHILL, Alabama — Dedication ceremonies for the newly completed Silverhill Veterans War Memorial will be held beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 18. The memorial is located in Paul Anderson Park, across from Town Hall at the corner of Alabama 104 and County Road 55 in Silverhill.

“When I was a boy, there was a memorial built on this very spot by one of the Boy Scouts and dedicated to all of those from Silverhill who served during World War II,” said Frankie Kucera, who helped organize the placing of the new memorial on behalf of the Gear Jammers Car Club.

Kucera says he remembers the memorial being white with black lettering, made of wood and included the names of all the soldiers from Silverhill who served during the war. For the soldiers who died serving in the war, Kucera said, there was a gold star by their names.

“By the time my dad became mayor in the 1960s, the memorial was gone,” he said. “I don’t know what happened to it and can’t find any photos of it, but when I served as mayor, I had several people ask me whatever happened to it and is there any way we can get another one put there.”

For the last several years, the Gear Jammers Car Club, of which Kucera is a founding member and past president, has been hosting its annual Silverhill Car Show on Memorial Day weekend.

Started as a fundraiser for the Oscar Johnson Memorial Library in Silverhill, fundraising focus of the event shifted in 2011 after a tornado caused extensive damage to the town’s Little Bohemian Hall. The event has also served as a fundraiser for Catholic Social Services, Project C.A.R.E. Food Pantry and Silverhill Boy Scout Troop 42.

After work on the Little Hall was completed in December of 2014 with dedication ceremonies held in January of 2015, focus of the car show shifted to raising funds for the war memorial.

“Through the car show and through other generous donations, we were able to secure the funds to have the memorial built this year,” Kucera said. “We wanted something that would honor all veterans from all branches of the military in all wars and I believe that this does that.”

The towering structure made of polished black granite with etched artwork on both sides was designed by Paul Morris of PM Printing in Summerdale, along with metal “stationary flags” depicting all branches of the military.

The flagpoles were donated by Woodman Life Insurance Co. The concrete work was donated by a veteran, Chris Traughber and the landscaping and finishing work was done by town employees, acting Superintendent of Utilities Scottie Smith, Tommy Moss, Jamie Morton and Justin Matthews.

“I just want to thank everyone who had a hand in making this possible,” Kucera said, “and I want to thank the town for allowing us to put it here.”

The dedication ceremonies will begin with prayer by the Rev. Jesse Adams of the Silverhill Covenant Church, followed by a flag raising by the local Boy Scout troop. Plans are to have a representative from the local Disabled American Veterans group and a Vietnam veteran speak during the ceremonies, Kucera said.

“We want this to be an uplifting thing that everyone can come and enjoy,” Kucera said, “not just for the veterans from Silverhill, but all veterans everywhere.”