Target date: Memorial Day 2010
Veterans have new goal in mind for honoring Adams
An account has been set up at Yampa Valley Bank, 435 Mack Lane, for the public to make donations to a proposed Maj. William E. Adams memorial project.
Donation checks should be made payable to Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265.
The bank's lobby is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. The drive-thru is open 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday.
There’s no surrender to two area veterans who have set their sights on formally honoring Craig’s sole Medal of Honor recipient, Maj. William E. Adams.
“We just came from Yampa Valley Bank and, we opened an account there for (Veterans of Foreign Wars) Post 4265 to accept contributions for a William E. Adams memorial,” said Larry Neu, a VFW member and a Vietnam veteran, Wednesday morning.
“We want this fired up now,” said Mark Wick, the incoming VFW commander who is also a Vietnam veteran. “When the iron is hot, you gotta strike.”
Neu and Wick established the memorial account at the bank, 435 Mack Lane, with the hopes of acquiring public donations that would fund an Adams memorial.
That memorial entails commissioning an artist to sculpt a life-size, bronze statue of Adams and have it placed at an as-of-yet undetermined location in Craig, beside a decommissioned Huey helicopter.
Ideally, the memorial would be unveiled about this time next year, Neu said.
“It’s going to take a little time,” he said, “but we would like to have a dedication next Memorial Day.”
Adams, a U.S. Army helicopter pilot, flew Huey helicopters in Vietnam. He was killed in May 1971, while attempting to evacuate wounded soldiers from a hostile area.
He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
Neu and Wick’s establishment of the memorial account comes on the heels of last week’s defeat of Neu’s previous proposal to recognize Adams in his hometown.
He and other area veterans and residents proposed the Moffat County School District name its reorganized elementary school after the fallen soldier.
That proposal failed.
A new one has emerged.
Neu said he has made some informal inquiries, and learned that the statue could cost anywhere from $30,000 to $40,000.
He will seek more formal cost estimates, probably some time next week.
He and Wick may have help acquiring the decommissioned helicopter.
On Saturday, state Sen. Al White, R-Hayden, contacted Neu offering his help in getting a stretch of state highway named after the Medal of Honor recipient.
“When I saw that the (school naming) effort had failed, it occurred to me there was something I thought I could accomplish as a member of the state legislature,” White recalled Wednesday afternoon. “That’s when I called Larry and said, ‘Hey, let’s see if there is something we can do here.'”
Although the highway naming wasn’t in Neu’s plans, having the veteran lawmaker’s help in getting a Huey is.
White said Neu and Wick have his support.
“I think some sort of decommissioned helicopter would be a wonderful thing, and I can help with that, and I can help with the highway,” he said. “The other piece (the fundraising) I can’t have much to do with, but I’m certainly willing to support them in whatever fashion I might. I think it’s worthwhile.”
White said he would begin working on the helicopter piece of the memorial project by first speaking with the state National Guard.
“If the National Guard can’t do it, they have opportunities through the regular Army, so it may or may not be just a National Guard effort,” he said. “But I will use the National Guard to find out what the best opportunities are to accomplish the goal of finding this helicopter.”
Wick, who was elected VFW commander May 18, served two tours in Vietnam, as did Neu.
Wick said the Adams memorial project has the VFW’s full attention.
“In addition to all the other programs the VFW has, right now, this is the tip of the spear,” he said. “This is going to be a can-do thing.
“This has gone on 38 years. That’s entirely too long. It’s time to do the right thing by this man, and his family. That family has suffered a lot. His suffering is over, but his family : they haven’t gotten the recognition, nothing. They got a flag and a medal. That’s pretty much all they got.”
Joshua Roberts can be reached at 875-1791, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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