Veterans Memorial Wall in Dayton rededicated after Harvey repairs

Members of the Stash and Mattie Ripkowski family of Dayton look for the names of their family members on the Veterans Memorial Wall in Dayton on May 20, 2019. The wall was rededicated after Entergy sponsored repairs from Hurricane Harvey.

Flags flying above beautiful black granite walls, surrounded by tall trees and a peaceful fountain set the scene for a special ceremony on Monday, May 20, commemorating the refurbishment of the Wall of Honor Memorial in Dayton.

Located on the grounds of the Dayton Community Center, 801 S. Cleveland St., the memorial wall’s foundation, damaged by flooding during Hurricane Harvey, had cracks in several places where expertly hand-painted murals depict various military scenes. In addition, water and humidity pulled plaques holding the names of soldiers away from the walls.

Upon learning of the destruction, Entergy Texas donated more than $7,700 to help repair the wall, as well as create a new drainage system to help prevent flooding in the future.

City and community leaders in Dayton joined Entergy at the wall to celebrate its repair and also pay respects to all veterans for their sacrifice and dedication in protection the freedoms Americans enjoy today.

“As we approach another Memorial Day, it is fitting that we gather at this wall to remember those who served our country – especially those who paid the ultimate price,” said Frank Shannon, director of regional customer service for Entergy Texas, Inc. “As a veteran myself, it gives me great pride to know that Entergy played a part in restoring the wall to its former glory. It is a fitting tribute to the resiliency that we have when faced with all types of adversity, be it natural or manmade.”

City Manager Theo Melancon said the memorial at the community center is a testament to what has defined America as the greatest nation in human history.

“Men and women across this land have fought and died so that we may stand here today, as we exercise our freedom of speech and assembly. Every right that we have was paid at the ultimate cost of our fellow citizens – our fallen veterans,” Melancon said. “Their public service must be reciprocated by the rest of us in civilian life for our nation to remain a beacon of liberty in a world of tyranny.”

He thanked Entergy for its gracious donation to restore the wall to its former glory.

“Hurricane Harvey is one of the most devastating natural disasters in modern history. Our War Memorial was a victim of its widespread flooding. Our community rallied together to respond and begin the recovery process. Having a partner like Entergy to provide the resources to restore our treasured community space is testimony to the very essence of what these brave men and women found and died for,” he said.

The memorial wall was built under contract by the City of Dayton in 2013 by Myron McDowell Construction. In 2014, a historical marker noting the history of one of Dayton’s most renown families – the Stash and Mattie Ripkowski Family – was added to the memorial wall.

Beginning in World War II, the Ripkowskis sent 12 sons to war, with nine serving during World War II and others serving in Korea and Vietnam. All sons returned from the battlefield, with many continuing to raise families in the Dayton area.

Four of the surviving Ripkowski children were in attendance at the rededication ceremony – Mike, James, Franklin and Anna Lee.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.