BERRYVILLE — Clarke County residents honored as Veterans of the Year now have a permanent tribute.
A plaque in their honor has been installed on a wall in the atrium leading to town offices on the second floor of the Berryville-Clarke County Government Center on Chalmers Court. It was unveiled Tuesday night by Berryville Mayor Patricia Dickinson and Will Watson, first vice commander of American Legion Lloyd Williams Post 41 in Berryville.
“It’s wonderful,” said Army veteran John F. Harris of Frogtown, whose name is inscribed on the plaque. “I really appreciate what the community has set up for us.”
Harris, 83, was named Veteran of the Year in 2016.
Others whose names are on the plaque are Norman DeVere Morrison (2015), Michael L. Linster (2017) and Robert A. Ferrebee (2018). This year’s Veteran of the Year has not been chosen.
A photo of the four veterans is in the plaque’s center. Dickinson said it’s appropriate to picture them together because the plaque is new. But in the future, the photo will be changed annually to show the most recent Veteran of the Year, she said.
The plaque reads, “This honor is bestowed in recognition of the local veteran who best exemplifies the tradition of the citizen soldier whose dedication to our nation and community does not end when his or her military experience is complete.” That tribute also is printed on the annual award.
Twenty-eight empty metal tags are attached to the plaque. They await the names of future Veterans of the Year to be inscribed on them.
Harris’ son-in-law, Army veteran George Wilfong of Winchester, said he is glad that the plaque eventually will be full of names of residents who continued to serve Clarke County in various ways after dedicating themselves to helping to protect Americans’ freedom.
The 16-inch by 24-inch, maple wood plaque also displays commemorative coins from each of the five branches of the United States Armed Forces.
Next to the plaque is a large window where government center visitors can see the veteran’s memorial installed on the grounds in 2008.
“It is appropriate that this plaque is placed here, where those viewing it can glance to their right to view the veterans memorial to all Clarke County residents who served in the Army, Navy, Marine Crops, Air Force and Coast Guard,” Watson said.
The plaque is courtesy of the World War I Centennial Committee, which last year coordinated activities in the county commemorating the war’s 100th anniversary.
After the events were organized, the committee chose to use leftover funds to buy the plaque, Watson recalled. Dickinson has said the plaque cost between $400 and $500, and contributions were made by Post 41, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9760 and the Winchester Marine Corps League.
Approximately 30 people attended the unveiling ceremony, during which Dickinson presented Centennial Committee members a copy of a proclamation honoring them. .