By Ryan Horton
Choctaw Veterans Memorial is looking for a few good citizens.
The memorial dedicated to veterans, located near the intersection of NE 23rd Street and Choctaw Road, is in need of a dedicated group of citizens to handle the management and future expansion of the site.
Choctaw Economic Development Authority is a board dedicated to economic development within the City of Choctaw. The board is currently going through the process of revamping its roster as well as solidifying its mission within the community.
The memorial was brought under the umbrella of CEDA due to a former member, Colonel (Ret.) David Howe, taking it on as a “pet project.” Howe no longer serves on CEDA, and the board hopes to find a group that can better serve the needs of the Choctaw Veterans Memorial.
CEDA members hope to find a group of community leaders with a passion for veterans to step up and take on future management of the memorial so that the economic development board can better focus on their primary function.
The veteran’s memorial project started in 2001 with a $65,000 contribution from the State of Oklahoma, donations by businesses, citizens and the Oklahoma Centennial Commission. In addition to donations Memorial Bricks were sold to help raise money for the nonprofit project. Each brick displays the name, branch and conflict of soldiers who served or are serving actively in the U.S. military.
The memorial was finished in its present form in 2007, but was meant to be a continually updated project honoring veterans.
The bricks used to construct the memorial walls were sold for $100, and they proved to be quite popular. All profits from brick sales returned to the Choctaw Veterans Memorial.
A third wall was planned, and a list of names was gathered.
However, without a dedicated manager for the project memorial expansion has gone idle.
CEDA reports the memorial has a fund of $7,893.25.
The City of Choctaw handles maintenance and landscaping, but the veterans memorial has become dormant.
CEDA members believe the memorial needs to have its own nonprofit established, and is aiming to pass control of the memorial to a veterans group, civic club or other entity.
“We can help them setup a nonprofit, and get everything in order,” said CEDA member Alex Lancaster. “This really needs to be with a group dedicated to this project.”
CEDA meets at 4:30 p.m. on the last Wednesday of every month at the Country Club at Choctaw Creek Golf Course, 2200 N. Hiwassee.
For more information on the memorial or CEDA contact Choctaw City Hall at 390-8198.