The new Lincoln Park Veterans Rest & Recreation Area, located next to the gymnasium at the Lincoln Park parade grounds, was formally dedicated Friday afternoon. The area, which features a pavilion, two grills, benches and picnic tables, bricked flower beds, and a fire pit, was designed and built by volunteers from Home Depot and the community, and sponsored by The Home Depot Foundation and the Georgia Clients Council, Inc. In addition to its main use of rest and relaxation for veterans, the area can also be used for programs on educating veterans on their benefits.
Stanley Smith of the GCC opened the ceremony by stating they wanted to do something different that most veterans memorials.
“Everybody does a memorial. Once the veterans are gone, they put up a wall and put their names on it. But we wanted to do something for people that are still living and show our appreciation to them while they are still alive,” said Smith. “We hope that the veterans of the community will enjoy it. We want this to be a place to get away.”
District 1 County Commissioner Lorenzo Wilder said there is not a more fitting place for this memorial than in Lincoln Park.
“A community with many veterans, and a community marked for decades by the spirit of civic engagement lived out by those men and women who served our country and made the ultimate sacrifice,” said Wilder. “As a veteran of the United States Naval Reserve, I am proud to share this memorial with you.”
Wilder added that this is the first living veterans memorial of its kind in the state, and that this Veterans Day will go down in history as one of the most memorable days ever.
“Although Monday is the day set aside to remember those who served this great country by protecting our freedom, it is just as important to realize that this is a memorial to all veterans, and in that same spirit, it should serve to remind us that we must work together to make this community something worth serving; a community worth believing in, a community worth protecting,” said Wilder.
The Thomaston Home Depot had 10 employees volunteer more than 120 hours to work on the area, and was represented at the dedication by Mateesa Walker and Pamela Young, co-captains of the project, Assistant Manager Dean Breland, and Human Resources Manager Kamisha Washington. Breland said Home Depot supports veterans and has more than 35,000 veterans among its employees.
“Home Depot has committed over $50 million over five years to non-profit organizations dedicated to improving the homes and facilities of economically disadvantaged veterans,” said Breland. “We are proud that a portion of that money was donated to the Georgia Client Council here in Thomaston.”