Veterans Memorial Foundation Earns Recognition

Veterans Memorial Foundation Earns Recognition

BERLIN — The Worcester County Veterans Memorial Foundation, Inc. (WCVMF) received the William Donald Schaefer Helping People award this week for its educational outreach and positive impact on veterans.
A veteran himself, Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot praised the WCVMF for making the memorial in Ocean Pines a reality and emphasized the importance of service in the country, especially for youth.
Accepting the award for WCVMF was Chair Marie Gilmore, who spoke about the initial founding of the memorial in 2005. It started as just a joint idea between Roseanne Bridgman and Sharyn O’Hare but boomed from there, said Gilmore.
“The vision of a place of comfort, remembrance and education swelled into a grassroots movement which culminated with the dedication of this memorial on Memorial Day, May 30, 2005,” she said.
Since then it has served as a beacon in the county for students who want to learn about Worcester’s proud history of service, Gilmore continued.
“More than 4,000 Worcester County students have visited here with their teachers and learned of the many sacrifices made by veterans to secure their freedoms,” she said. “The memorial continues to grow as we expand our educational program.”
It is likewise a wellspring for weary veterans.
“Every day we see veterans visiting this site and drawing comfort from it,” she said. “Here they know they are not forgotten.”
O’Hare continued on that track with her own remarks.
“I know that this is a hallowed ground. It is very special,” O’Hare said. “If you need a healing place, this is the place to come.”
A number of county and state representatives were also on hand for the event. State Senator Jim Mathias told the gathering that it puts his mind at ease to know that veterans like the ones at the ceremony existed.
“As we watch the news tonight wondering what’s next for our country, as we all know, veterans just like the ones out in this audience today stand ready to command,” he said, “to continue to protect the dignity of our neighbors across the world and our citizens in this country.”
Delegate Mike McDermott spoke of the importance of the memorial at Ocean Pines and how it serves as a lasting reminder of sacrifice.
“This memorial exists so that we do not forget. It exists so that our children are reminded of the cost and sacrifice of freedom,” he said. “And every brick that’s got a name on it here is from a relative that wanted somebody to be remembered. That is the one thing we can do for our veterans: remember them, remember their service and honor their memory. And that is what this memorial is all about.”
Sheriff Reggie Mason agreed with O’Hare that the memorial is a “healing place” for veterans.
“I love this place. I had the honor two years ago to speak at this place on Veteran’s Day about Vietnam,” he said. “I was one of the lucky ones that got back.”
Ocean Pines Association Director Bob Thompson added, “Through your tireless efforts our children are being educated, our community is being drawn closer together and our veterans are being honored here with this memorial,” Thompson said.