By Roger Pugh
The group working to construct a veteran’s building in Piedmont has decided not to try to build the proposed structure on land owned by the Piedmont Historical Society.
Leon Meyer, one of the group organizers, said the organization and the society could not get certain details finalized, and his group found what they felt was a better situation.
He said the group, which has adopted the name Piedmont Area Veterans. Inc., was not yet prepared to announce the new site targeted for the facility.
Meyer noted the group and the society could not reach an understanding on ongoing maintenance for the proposed facility and who would pay for certain other costs.
John Bickerstaff, another organizer of the group, said that by taking another location, the veteran’s organization would outright own and manage the facility, and it would be run by veterans.
“That is a much more attractive situation,” Bickerstaff said.
“I was disappointed to hear the research team of the Veterans project decided to end their talks to partner with the Historical Society and to build the project in a different location,” Historical Society President Don Willis wrote to Bickerstaff and the group last week.
“There were several Society members who were exited about this project but there were still some with questions of how we could support this financially i.e. insurance, utilities and future maintenance. We have no identifiable revenue coming in to support it but I thought from the beginning that we could have made it work,” Willis said in the communication.
“I believe there will be adequate financial support from the Veterans and the community to complete this project and am very pleased that you are serious in building this special facility to honor the veterans. I am looking forward to the completion of your project,” the society president added.
The local veterans organization is now in the process of incorporating and is working on obtaining a tax classification which will enable the group to take donations under tax free status.
“Our vision for the building is three fold, one it will be part military museum, two it will be part military library and three we would eventually like to do some veterans counseling.” Bickerstaff said in a communication to supporters this week.
He said the group is looking at a 30 foot x 50′ foot structure and the plans for the building are being drawn.
“Piedmont Area Veterans, Inc. will be open to all local and area veterans and their families as well as all those interested. be they veterans or not.” Bickerstaff said.
“We see this as being good for the community, good for family members of veterans and good to have a place where the Veterans can be honored and remembered.” Bickerstaff explained.
“We must never forget what they have done for us and this country over many years. Our hope is to extend that memory through displays,” he said.
A bank account is being set up at F&M Bank and those wanting to make donation now can send it to Piedmont Area Veterans, Inc., P.O. Box 194, Piedmont, OK 73078.
Checks should be made out to “Piedmont Area Veterans, Inc”.
Bickerstaff said the organization could start using financial support now, but will also need the support of area veterans and interested citizens you when it comes time to decide the displays, layouts, and other matters.
Those wanting to volunteer can contact Bickerstaff at 373-1424 or Meyer at 373-4820.