Wall of heroes

Cheryl Spriggs with model of old wall at Highlands Museum and Discovery Center

ASHLAND The withdrawal of keynote speaker Sen. Rand Paul following recent surgery has force cancellation of a fundraiser for a wall commemorating Boyd County’s World War II veterans, but organizer Cheryl Spriggs says she will continue raising money for the memorial.

“We will raise the money and the wall will be built,” Spriggs said. “This wall is all about those men who served in World War II and it belongs to the people of Boyd County.

The wall, a project of the Ashland Rotary Club, is to be modeled after one built in 1944 but demolished 10 years later.

The club needs at least $20,000 in addition to what it has already raised and Spriggs had hoped to take in much of that amount at a fundraising luncheon at which Paul had agreed to speak.

However, Paul underwent surgery earlier this month to remove part of his lung, which was damaged when he was assaulted at his home in 2017. Physicians have advised him to limit his activities until September, Spriggs said.

Paul’s office offered to send a substitute but that would not have worked, she said. “The draw was Senator Paul. I think people wanted to see him and hear him.”

Spriggs’s Plan B starts with asking those who have already bought tickets to the luncheon to donate the money even though the event is canceled. That is working so far; most ticket buyers have made the donation, she said.

Several businesses that had committed to sponsorship of the event have agreed to donate the sponsorship amount.

Spriggs also is turning to individual donors. “No amount is too small, even if it’s $5 or $2, to be involved in getting this wall constructed,” she said.

The original wall was inscribed with the names of the 6,700 Boyd Countians who served in World War II. A model of the wall is on exhibit at the Highlands Museum and Discovery Center.

The new monument will be 79 feet long and will include all the names. Spriggs plans to meet with the city park board and ask for a location on the riverfront.

To donate, make checks out to “Rotary Salutes” and send to Spriggs at 2816 Cumberland Ave., Ashland, KY 41102, or to the Rotary at P.O. Box 1233, Ashland KY 41105.

(606) 326-2652 |

mjames@dailyindependent.com

Mike James is The Independent's education reporter. He has covered news in Northeast Kentucky since 1996.