LAMPASAS — An Eagle Scout’s project to build a veterans memorial was finally realized during a dedication ceremony at the Oak Hills Cemetery in Lampasas on Saturday.
Eagle Scout Scott Jerdon, 17, a senior at Lampasas High School, began working on his project to build a veterans monument more than two years ago by raising funds through donations and designing the monument.
Jerdon said the monument was to honor and give recognition to veterans for their service, something he doesn’t feel they get enough of.
“They don’t get the recognition they deserve, and I just have a strong passion for them,” Jerdon said. “It is through the hardships and sacrifices of the great men and women of our United States military that make this country what we know and love.”
Jerdon said the veterans memorial was dedicated to every veteran, to show appreciation for their blood, sweat and tears they have shed defending the country’s freedoms.
“Their selflessness and willingness to sacrifice everything whenever duty calls are too frequently overlooked. For that, I would just like to say thank you,” Jerdon said.
Don Nicholas, the field representative for U.S. Rep. Roger William’s office, spoke on behalf of the representative to the gathering of more than 100 people.
“Due to some unfinished business in Washington, the congressman was unable to be here, but he sends his deep regrets and sends his heartfelt thanks to the folks of Lampasas and Lampasas County,” Nicholas said. “He said the following words, ‘Thank you Scott for your introduction and allowing me to speak with all of you here today, I remember reading Scott’s story about how he raised $20,000 for the memorial a few months ago and we need more patriots like this young man who are willing to go the extra mile to thank a veteran for their service. I commend you Scott for bringing attention to our selfless vets.’”
Oak Hills Cemetery caretaker Duane Griffith said more than 930 veterans were interred at the cemetery.
“Their battle campaigns ranged from the Texas Revolution all the way up to Afghanistan,” Griffith said. “We are honored and blessed to be the beneficiaries of such a wonderful memorial.”
Griffith said there was no greater honor than honoring those who sacrificed themselves in the name of freedom.
“This memorial does that and a whole lot more,” Griffith said. “It stands as a reminder to all of us that we are a strong nation, and the sacrifices that it took us to get to where we are today.”
Griffith said the monument would help to heal battle wounds that others cannot see.
“I pray that it will inspire future generations to maintain the standards that’s been set before them,” Griffith said. “It goes without saying that this memorial was a huge undertaking — the fact that a young man made it happen is nothing short of amazing.”
Lampasas resident and Army veteran retired 1st Sgt. Steve Evans presented Jerdon with an Army Achievement Medal for his efforts.
“Scott and I have been teamed up together and I am proud of what he’s done, and I hope it helps other scouts get into it,” Evans said. “Scott needs to have an achievement medal, too, because as far as the military is concerned, he’s earned it.”
Jerdon said more than 50 donors helped to make the monument possible and thanked the numerous contractors that donated their services and materials.
“It has been through hard work and dedication that this veteran’s memorial became a reality and I could not have done it without the assistance and outpouring support from the community,” Jerdon said.
The limestone monument sits between two 20-foot flag poles flying the United States flag, Texas state flag and the POW/MIA flag. A limestone bench is on each side of the monument. Upon its face are bronze plaques for each branch of the military, surrounding the seal of the United States. At the top of the monument is a plaque that reads “For the fallen, but not forgotten.”