Nov 13 2019
Dave Morrison | The Independent Herald
PINEVILLE — Pineville native Robbie Bailey is proud to call Herschel Woody Williams, Medal of Honor recipient and American hero, a friend.
And because of that friendship, and a mutual acquaintance of the two, Wyoming County is on pace to get a Gold Star Family Monument on the courthouse lawn.
There is currently no Gold Star Monument in Southern West Virginia.
The Wyoming County Commission gave its blessing to allow the monument to be placed on the courthouse lawn at its meeting Wednesday, Nov. 6, Bailey said.
The monuments are done through the Herschel Woody Williams Medal of Honor Foundation. The Memorial Monuments are part of Williams’ vision of honoring and paying tribute to the Gold Star Families “for their sacrifice of one of their loved ones,” which is what the Gold Star is all about.
Williams, a retired Marine Corps Warrant Officer and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs representative, won the Medal of Honor for heroism above and beyond the call of duty and a Purple Heart during the battle of Iwo Jima.
“I first met Woody during an emergency service conference I was running as part of my job,” Bailey said. “He was a speaker at the conference. It turns out we had a mutual friend and that friend was telling me about the Gold Star monument program. And I started thinking about all the Gold Star families we have right here in Wyoming County.”
Bailey said two of the Wyoming County Commission members, Cecil Lester and Johnny Smith, are both Gold Star Family members.
Bailey said the plan is for the monument to go on the right side of the lower portion of the courthouse lawn.
“We are really just getting started in our fundraising efforts and our target goal is to hit between $55,000 and $65,000,” Bailey said. “It’s like Woody has said: We do a great job honoring the veterans, but we are missing a whole section of people and that is the Gold Star Families, who lost family members in service to their country.”
On Monday, Williams, 96, and a native West Virginian, was one of five grand marshals at New York City’s Veteran’s Day Parade. Williams is one of two surviving Medal of Honor recipients in the U.S.
To help with the project, you can send donations to Wyoming County Gold Star Monument, P.O. Box 27, Pineville, WV 24874, or you can make a donation by clicking on the Wyoming County Gold Star Monument Facebook page or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.