HOWARD - A huge black granite memorial bears the insignias of the branches of the military and wars fought by Americans. It stands proud in Howard Community Park.
Thanks to one Girl Scout's Gold Award project, a community was brought together to celebrate all the veterans who have served to protect the nation.
Brittany Etters, a junior at Bald Eagle Area High School, said she realized Howard did not have a memorial for veterans like so many other communities in the area. So, in order to show her support for the special men and women defending the country, Brittany decided to take action.
Bald Eagle Area junior Brittany Etters and Howard Mayor Ralph Fravel present the new veterans memorial in Howard Community Park. The mayor is Brittany’s grandfather.
"My dad and pap are veterans ... so I thought it would be a nice way to show support for them and all veterans in the community. I designed the memorial and decided on the words that would be printed on it," said Brittany, a Girl Scout for nine years.
The memorial reads: "Dedicated to all the Howard Area Veterans both men and women who served in the Armed Forces during war and peace times."
In order to earn the Gold Award, Brittany had to complete 60 hours of community service, receive three badges, keep a log of what she did and record her expenses to attain the Gold Award.
To raise money for the project, Brittany said she sold bricks with the names of veterans printed on them.
"I am so thrilled at the great response we have had to the brick fundraiser. So far we have sold about 203 and we still have more for sale," she said.
On Nov. 7, the completed Howard Area Veteran's Memorial was unveiled and dedicated, with more than 300 people on hand for the ceremony. Helping Brittany with the unveiling were Howard Mayor Ralph Fravel, Mike Etters and Bud Workman.
Centre County Commissioner Jon Eich and State Rep. Mike Hanna, D-Lock Haven, participated. Also speaking were Clinton County Veterans Affairs Director David W. Bower, Dick Stever of Mayes Memorial, Bud Workman who did the masonry work and Fravel.
The Howard VFW Post 8269 presented the colors while the Milesburg American Legion Post 893 provided an Honor guard. The Vietnam Veterans of America and 82nd Airborne Division placed wreaths at the monument and played taps. Rev. Casey Strunk gave the invocation and benediction and Michelle Bates was the vocalist.
A reception followed the ceremony at the fire hall.
"I just want to say thank you to everyone who came to support the project, purchased bricks or offered positive comments and of course, thank you to the veterans." Brittany said. "It means a lot to all of us."
Committee members who worked with Brittany on the project were Bill Chambers, Doug Bush, David Houdeshell, Skip Wolfe, Jeremy Wolf, Ralph Fravel, Paul Mills and Bud Workman.
Supporters include Bowers; Mayes Memorial; Wal-Mart; Subway; Woodrings Flowers; Centre Concrete; Scott Kotzur; Nature's Cover; Randy Workman and crew; Howard VFW; U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Howard; Wolfe; Margret Davidson; Howard Grange 297; Howard Civic Club; Woodsman of the World; Howard Lions Club; Buzz Brownson; Howard Park and Recreation Department; Betsy Snyder; Howard Fire Co.; Confer's Trucking; Milesburg Legion 893; Ronald Weckerly; Paul Mills; Sharyn Leach; Fred Smith; Bradd Foust; Pat and Tom Bowes; Ruth and Earl Thompson; Anita Masden; Glenn O. Hawbaker Inc.; Bill Leman; Palmer Trucking; Lester Beck; U.S. Marine League; Louis Lucas; and Cheryl Kane.
Anyone interested in purchasing a commemorative brick can call Ralph Fravel at 814-280-0660.