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Grassroots group works to restore war monument

By Staff | Sep 9, 2009

FINAL INSPECTION — From left, Tim Doty, Bob Tippins, Pete Sidenstricker and John Stender, vice president of the Tyler County Commission, inspect the WWI monument in front of the Tyler County Courthouse. Plans are to replace the base to the monument originally dedicated in 1930 by American Legion Post No. 48. Tippins and Doty, veterans, will be heading the program. Sidenstricker will build the form for the new base. (Photo by Barry Harter)

Tyler County Commissioners have given the green light to a grassroots group seeking to refurbish the World War I monument in front of the Tyler County Courthouse.

In addition to the existing monument, both concerned citizens and the commission have agreed to erect two benches flanking the front walk to commemorate the men and women who served during World War II.

Initial discussion has a bench on either side of the walk, one dedicated to those who served in the Pacific and European theaters of operations.

“These two gentlemen (Robert Tippins and Tim Doty) represent all veterans in Tyler County from all past wars,” John Stender, Tyler County Commission vice president, said. “They have no official title, but an interest in honoring and remembering past veterans and present military service personnel.”

Tippins, a Korean Conflict and Viet Nam War veteran, and Doty, a Viet Nam War veteran, have undertaken the job, with permission from American Legion Post No. 48 of Middlebourne, which originally installed the monument dedicated May 20, 1930. The monument honors those who served during World War I. With approval, the two have the volunteer services of Pete Sidenstricker of Sistersville to construct the form. The artillery piece will be refurbished by Backyard Auto Body as a service to the community.

“They noticed the World War I monument is in great deterioration,” Stender said of Tippins and Doty. “These gentlemen took it upon themselves, with friends and a contractor, to refurbish and build a new base as support to the artillery piece.

“In addition, they have plans to erect two benches in honor of World War II veterans of the Pacific and European wars, to be placed on the walkway along the entrance to the courthouse.”

Future plans include monuments to veterans of Operation Desert Storm and the current Iraqi and Afghanistan conflicts at the courthouse.

“This is a small effort on our part when compared to those who have protected our nation’s freedoms and liberties. The commission supports these projects whole heartedly and the gentlemen who have undertaken to complete them,” Stender said.

“We’re tickled to death someone is willing to do it,” Dave Smith, first vice commander of Post No. 48 said.

The commission, Doty and Tippins will further be working with support from VFW Post No. 6327 and American Legion Post No. 67, both of Sistersville.

While the commission has agreed to offer financial support, donations will be accepted.

Those wishing to make a donation of either time or monies may do so by contacting Tippins at 304-652-1557.