progress to establish
Veterans Park in Crestwood
veteran Helton leads board
that is pushing the effort
Helen E. McKinney
CRESTWOOD, Ky. (August 2010) Don Helton is
among a group of individuals who envision a park for Oldham County like
no other park in the United States. This group wants to establish an
educational and living reminder of veterans who fought and died in wars,
campaigns and military actions, while at the same time remembering Oldham
County service members who died for their country.
by Helen McKinney
Helton stands at the site
where he hopes a new Veterans Park
will soon be established.
Helton is Chair of the Board of Directors for the Veterans
Memorial Park of Kentucky Inc. In a short space of time, the organization
has collected a very active board, he said. All board members
are veterans, with the exception of three individuals.
The boards goal is to create a community gathering place so that
we need never forget the sacrifices vets have made for us,
said Helton, a Pewee Valley resident.
Veterans Memorial Park of Kentucky will consist of a 24,000-foot area
adjacent to Veterans Memorial Parkway, a named segment of KY Hwy. 329
in Crestwood. The park will lie on property owned by the Board of Education,
which will permit the park to be built next to the main entrance of
South Oldham Middle School, South Oldham High School and Camden Station
Elementary on Hwy. 146.
In regard to the parks location next to several schools, Many
kids are not learning history in schools, said Helton, who served
in the U.S. Army from 1967-1977. Freedom is not free.
The park can be used as a hands-on teaching tool as well as a quiet
place of reflection, he added.
The park will consist of a concrete walking path, plantings and benches.
Also included in the park will be three types of markers: those that
include inspirational quotes, markers that include the names of Oldham
County veterans who died in military actions from all wars, and those
with historical information about wars and campaigns in which Americans
fought and died.
Veterans Memorial Park of Kentucky will unveil bronze markers each year
around Memorial Day. The project is on schedule and organizers hope
to have it finished by 2011.
Weve been blessed to have to spend very little so far due
to donated services, said Helton. Our goal is to collect
at least $100,000 for the final project and be self-sustaining.
Veterans Memorial Park of Kentucky Inc. is a 501c3 non-profit organization.
Their propose is two-fold. We want to recognize the American veterans
who fought and died, and educate the community, especially the youth,
about the sacrifices that have been made for our country, Helton
Although she didnt serve in the military, this project is close
to Cynthia Staffords heart because of her brother, Lt. Dennis
Babers, U.S. Marine Corp. Lt. Babers died in 1967 at age 23 and Stafford
has a deep and abiding respect for veterans, especially Vietnam
vets, she said.
Stafford is the director of HDB Services Group. The initials, HDB, are
her brothers initials and served as an inspiration to start the
non-profit. Her brothers story can be found at www.hdbservicegroup.com.
Stafford likes the idea of a park-like setting for the memorial. The
Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C., is a very moving place,
she said, but not set in a park.
The Veterans Memorial Park of Kentucky will be an interactive park,
she said. It will be a great tool for schools as well. You cant
always just learn something in a book. It will be a historical experience
Stafford said the park will be a great place for events and she hopes
it will attract people from all over the country, not just Oldham County.
I hope people in the community and the state support it.
We are very excited to have the Veterans Memorial Park of Kentucky
added to our attraction list in Oldham County, said Kim Buckler,
executive director of the Oldham County Tourism Commission. Buckler
said the park will be an attraction that can be promoted across the
She noted that with Crestwood and Pewee Valley having unique attractions
such as Yew Dell Gardens, the Little Colonel Playhouse and the Confederate
Cemetery, Veterans Memorial Park of Kentucky will fit in nicely
with the crowds who are attracted to those sites. As soon as the
park has been established it will be added to tourism literature and
the www.TourOldhamCounty.com website. We certainly look forward
to the unveiling and future promotion of the park.
The main reason Lambert Franklin is the park boards Vice Chair
and supports the project is because I am a veteran. Franklin
served in the U.S. Air Force from 1971-1979.
The park will focus on vets from Oldham County who have served
and fallen in all the different wars, he said. It is unique
because the focus in on local people.
Many local companies have donated labor and materials to the building
of this park: Garber-Chilton Engineers & Surveyors Inc., Scott-Klausing
& Co. Architects & Planners, Ernst Concrete (Kentucky Division),
and Beechwood Trees & Garden.
This is going to be unique, said Helton. Most memorials
do not provide educational information. At this one, you can walk through
and learn something.
Veterans Memorial Park of Kentucky seeks
donations to support park development and maintenance. To support this
project, contact Don Helton at (502) 243-9998 or visit:
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