Wyoming County Commission approves Gold Star monument

Wyoming County officials have discussed upgrading the courthouse elevator to accommodate larger, motorized wheelchairs as well as installing automatic doors at the entrances. An engineer has been scheduled to look over the projects. Officials will also explore grant funding possibilities to help offset costs for the improvements. The courthouse was built in 1916. (Register-Herald file photo)

Wyoming County Commission members approved the location of a new Gold Star Families Memorial Monument on the courthouse lawn during their meeting Wednesday.

Robbie Bailey said the idea for “The Wyoming County Project” had grown after he and Mike Johnson had listened to Hershel “Woody” Williams, 96, a retired U.S. Marine Corps warrant officer and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs service representative who received the Medal of Honor in World War II.

The Hershel “Woody” Williams Medal of Honor Foundation encourages Gold Star Families Memorial Monuments be erected in communities across the nation and provides scholarships to eligible Gold Star children. The purpose of the programs is to honor Gold Star families who have lost a loved one in service to their country.

“We have a lot of Gold Star families here,” Bailey said.

As yet, there is no monument in southern West Virginia, Bailey told commissioners.

Bailey said the location will be on the lower tier of the courthouse lawn, on the right side of the steps if you are facing the front of the building from Main Street.

Organizers will have to raise about $75,000 to erect the monument.

Committee members include Bailey and Johnson, along with Mark Brooks, Johnny Smith, a Gold Star Family member, and Cecil Lester, also a Gold Star Family member.

The foundation will provide some support for the project, he said, and both a website and Facebook page have been established to help with the fundraising.

To contribute or for more information, visit the website at http://hwwmohf.org/wyoming-cty-wv.html

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In other business, Michael Bennett, a partnership specialist with the U.S. Census Bureau, outlined the importance of counting every person in the county during next year's census.

He asked commissioners to establish a commission, or committee, to make certain every person in the county is counted. The committee will then create a local strategy to obtain an accurate count.

Fewer people in the final census count result in fewer federal dollars coming into the county and can also mean fewer new businesses, Bennett said.

The count is also used to make certain elected representatives are distributed fairly according to population, Bennett said.

Because of the remote locations, Wyoming, McDowell and Monroe counties generate unique problems when trying to count every person, he told commissioners.

In 2020, when the census count will be completed, Wyoming County is projected to lose 12.76 percent of its population from the previous count in 2010, Bennett said, making it even more important to count every person.

There are no citizenship questions, he told commissioners, so citizenship should not be an issue for the census count.

If a person has lived in the county for six months, that person should be counted, Bennett emphasized.

If a person is not counted, that person will be missing from population counts for the next decade, he said.

Thirty-three temporary jobs will also be created in Wyoming County as part of the census project. Those interested in the temporary jobs can apply at 2020census.gov, Bennett said.

The national campaign will kick-off in January.

Officials are emphasizing that the census is “easy, simple and important.”

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Additionally, officials discussed upgrading the courthouse elevator to accommodate larger, motorized wheelchairs as well as installing automatic doors at the entrances.

An engineer has been scheduled to look over the projects.

Officials will also explore grant funding possibilities to help offset costs for the improvements.

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