Fundraising begins for Washington ‘Wall That Heals’ project|Half-scale Vietnam memorial will visit city in April 2010

Published 12:05 am Thursday, June 4, 2009

Lifestyles & Features Editor

Vietnam veteran and Washington resident George H. Schryer is getting closer to realizing his dream of bringing a special part of American history to Beaufort County.
Schryer, who was in the Air Force, is leading the movement to have The Wall That Heals — a half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. — brought to the original Washington. It’s part of his efforts to ensure that America’s service men and women are not forgotten.
“The statue memorializes the more than 58,000 men and women who were killed during the 10-year-long Vietnam War,” Schryer said.
The traveling memorial is owned and operated by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, a private, nonprofit organization, Schryer explained.
Plans are now in place to display the memorial in Washington April 22-25, 2010.
“I have been wanting to do this for quite some time,” said Schryer, who is incoming commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6088 in Washington and District II Commander. “I couldn’t get all the pieces to fit, and we had to find the right location.”
Washington Mayor Judy Meier Jennette mentioned to Schryer that she wanted the memorial wall to come to Washington, so the pair joined forces and set the wheels in motion.
Jennette’s husband, First Sgt. Jerry Jennette, is a Vietnam veteran, as is Schryer.
“We got together and decided to do it with veterans groups in the area and with support from the community,” Schryer said. “I think this will help bring closure to a lot of guys who for some reason or another couldn’t get to D.C. to see the real thing.”
Schryer, Jennette and other committee members are now overseeing fundraising to support the project.
An estimated $10,000 is needed to foot the bill for transporting the wall to Washington and other expenses related to the project.
The local VFW post initiated fundraising by contracting $2,000, Schryer said. VFW Post 7032 in Greenville has contributed $1,000, and the city of Washington and Beaufort County Board of Commissioners have each pledged $2,000.
Donations from local businesses and individuals are also arriving.
Should donations exceed the cost of funding the project, any excess money will be used to improve Veterans Park, Schryer said.
The wish list includes erecting a new sign, additional landscaping and relocating the World War I and World War II memorials from their respective locations to Veterans Park.
“I just hope we get the donations we need, and that everybody will come out and see it,” Schryer said.
Contributions to The Wall That Heals project can be mailed to the city of Washington, P.O. Box 210, Washington, N.C. 27889. Donations are tax deductible.