Bald Knob veterans wall brings pride

By Lisa Burnett Originally Published January 20, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated January 18, 2013 at 12:10 p.m.
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From the left, Kenneth Morris, Carl White, Bald Knob Mayor Doyle Wallace and Clois Cox stand in front of the Veterans Memorial Wall in Bald Knob. The wall, which has been finished for about four months, took almost 13 months to complete.

— One of Bald Knob Mayor Doyle Wallace’s campaign promises was to put a veterans memorial wall in place in the city of Bald Knob.

He has made that promise a reality after hard work and donations of money and time from many people in the Bald Knob community. The wall took $4,600 to complete.

“It started out as a campaign promise a little over two years ago,” Wallace said. “There was nothing in Bald Knob to recognize our veterans.”

Wallace said he got the idea from the mural in Bradford, which was painted by Gene Reagan.

Bald Knob’s mural is on the side of a building owned by John Fisher, at the corner

of Main Street and Arkansas 367.

“We’ve had all kinds of pats on the back for giving our veterans some recognition,” Wallace said.

The mural, also painted by Reagan, took a little more than a year to complete and features the American flag, a bald eagle and military vehicles, as well as pictures representing all divisions of the military.

Fundraisers have been held throughout the community to raise money for the Veterans Fund, which benefits the wall. Wallace said although this project has been his undertaking, it’s strictly funded by donations, and the city has nothing to do with the wall itself.

“I’m proud Bald Knob’s done it,” Wallace said. “We couldn’t have done it without donations.”

One of the most successful fundraisers for the wall was a pig roast last summer that raised almost $2,000.

“We prepared for 100 people and ended up having about 200 people show up,” Wallace said.

With the success of the first pig roast, the Veterans Mural Board is planning on hosting another one this summer.

Wallace said the board will have another fundraiser Saturday to fund additions to the wall and its surrounding area. The event will feature the Velvet Ridge Singers in concert for donations only at Bald Knob High School.

Although the mural has been completed for four months, Wallace and the board, which comprises 10 members, have plans for more work to be done on the wall.

The board consists primarily of Vietnam veterans, with the exception of board chairman Wallace, who is a Korean War veteran. The members are Alton Pollard, Roger Heathscott, Bob Carpenter, Clois Cox, Kenneth Morris, Travis Case, Carl White, Jami Kimbrough and Juke Odom.

After the mural was completed, Wallace said another wall was built in addition to the original wall.

“Billy Martin donated the labor to build the wall out from the original wall,” Wallace said.

On the additional wall, names of Bald Knob veterans are being added. For a name to be added to the wall, the person had to have lived in the Bald Knob School District for five years and served in a war zone. Heathscott said 381 names are on the wall, and stars will eventually be added to the names to indicate which branch of the military and which war each veteran served in, and many names still need to be added.

Wallace said some of his plans for the future include a monument near the city’s library to honor all veterans from all wars.

Heathscott said he is proud that his city now has the memorial.

“A lot of people thank you for doing that,” Heathscott said. “We have a lot of people that just stop and look and see if their name’s on the wall.”

Staff Writer Lisa Burnett can be reached at (501)244-4307 or lburnett@arkansasonline.com.

Online Reporter Lisa Burnett can be reached at 501-378-3887 or lburnett@arkansasonline.com.

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