Centre County Memorials to be part of ‘Tour of Honor’
By CHRIS MORELLI
BELLEFONTE — The Soldiers and Sailors War Memorial and Andrew Gregg Curtin Monument in Bellefonte may be getting some visitors in the coming days, weeks and months.
At Tuesday’s Centre County Commissioners’ meeting, it was revealed that the memorial has been selected as part of the “Tour of Honor,” which is an event that benefits Veterans Charities. The “Tour of Honor” is advertised as a “season-long, self-directed ride to memorials around the continental United States.” The memorials in front of the Centre County courthouse are just one of seven sites selected in Pennsylvania.
Sue Hannegan, assistant director of the Centre County Planning and Community Development Office, talked about the honor.
“It’s a tour conducted by veterans, primarily who collect registration funds. It’s really a tribute,” Hannegan said. “We will probably see many people in town … taking their photo in front of the Centre County court house and the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial.”
The “Tour of Honor” has many different layers to it. It involves all 50 states and participants can take part in a contest of sorts to get their photo in front of as many of the memorials as they can. Sites were announced on April 1. Trophies will be awarded to the first three riders to visit all of the destinations in a state or region.
Veterans charities receive 20 percent of the registration fees.
Pins and finishers certificates will be given to all who visit a minimum of seven sites. A “Jack Shoalmire Achievement Award” will be awarded to the person visiting the most memorial sites during 2019.
Brian Querry, Director of Veterans Affairs in Centre County, said that it’s a honor to be selected.
“Anytime you have the opportunity to give back to the veterans … it’s a good thing. This is a national program, so it’s quite an honor,” Querry said.
The monuments were re-dedicated during a ceremony on Veteran’s Day, 2018. This will give Centre County a chance to show them off.
“I would suggest that if anyone hasn’t had a chance to see the monuments since they were repaired that they go up and walk around. If you can remember what it was like beforehand, it’s almost brand new,” Querry said. “It’s just a good way to remember the fallen.”
Commissioner Mark Higgins said that it could help boost tourism to Centre County, especially the Bellefonte area.
“Definitely make sure we get the word out on this,” Higgins said.
Commissioner Michael Pipe said that being selected is a win-win for everyone involved.
“This is exciting … not only for Bellefonte, but especially for our veterans,” Pipe said.
In other business Tuesday, the commissioners approved four letters of support:
– For College Township’s grant funding request to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resource Community Conservation Partnership Program for the development of a master plan for Spring Creek Park.
– For State College Borough’s grant funding request to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resource Community Conservation Partnership Program for park improvements to East Fairmount Park.
– For the Friends of Rothrock State Forest’s grant funding request to the Pennsylvania of Conservation and Natural Resource Community Conservation Partnership Program for the construction of the first phase (eight miles) of a 60-mile overall trail project with the Rothrock State Forest.
– For the Clearwater Conservancy’s grant funding request Greenways, Trails and Recreation Program Program Funding.