Memorial to vets at Wayne fairgrounds is rededicated

Memorial to vets at Wayne fairgrounds is rededicated
Laurie Sidle

A veterans’ memorial at the Wayne County Fairgrounds, first established in 2009, was rededicated this year during the fair’s opening ceremony because of its new design and location outside the event center’s entrance.

                        

A veterans’ memorial at the Wayne County Fairgrounds is a source of pride for all involved in the project.

First established in 2009, the memorial was rededicated this year during the fair’s opening ceremony because of its new design and location outside the event center’s entrance. The Triple Nickel honor guard started the ceremony by presenting the military flags.

The goal was to complete the memorial last year along with the event center, fair secretary Matt Martin said during the ceremony. “But we wanted to make sure we did it right,” he said.

All the pieces came together. “And the finished project is absolutely phenomenal,” Martin said.

Working with Wayne County Fair directors, Jason Geiser, founder of Patios for Patriots and owner of Deco-Crete Supply in Orrville, designed and donated the memorial as a way to give back to veterans.

“I have a real appreciation for those in the military,” Geiser said. “They’ve given so much to this country. I hope when they walk by that memorial that it makes them feel appreciated, and I hope they sit on the bench (and enjoy the surroundings)."

The bench is seat height and doubles as a retaining wall made from poured concrete. Hand-carved stones in the wall were sandblasted with emblems from the five branches of the military: Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps and Navy. Lights underneath the symbols illuminate them at night, and a spotlight shines on the flag pole flying the American flag.

A large stone inscribed with “In tribute to all who served our country in the armed forces” served as the fair’s original veterans’ memorial and was moved when the event center was built. Geiser included it in his design, pouring concrete around the rock. The concrete surface has an exposed aggregate finish to provide traction and contains crushed mirrors to give it a sparkly appearance on a sunny day.

Patios for Patriots is a nonprofit group dedicated to building backyard patios for military veterans. The memorial fell in line with the organization’s mission, Geiser said. “It’s something that will honor all Wayne County veterans at the same time,” he said.

Landscaping behind the memorial was the work of Karol Mairs and Lisa Camp, both of Wooster. Their plantings included sedums, grasses, mums, petunias and creeping phlox to bloom in the spring. Boy Scout Troop 71 of Shreve helped spread 50 yards of mulch on the flower bed, and local businesses donated labor and materials. Rocks in the landscaping came from Mairs’ farm.

“Many hands came together and made this area look nice,” Martin said. “It’s been a wonderful project, and we’re proud to have it here.”


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