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Recognizing history and sacrifice

by | December 20, 2018 5:00 pm

Last Updated: December 18, 2018 at 3:57 pm

Plans to install two commemorative markers in Walterboro have moved a step closer to fruition after receiving Walterboro City Council’s blessing.
Council members, at their Dec. 4 meeting, authorized providing the funding to install a historical marker for Colleton Training School and approved the installation of another plaque to honor veterans at the Colleton County Veterans War Memorial at the East Washington Street waterfall plaza.
The Colleton Training School/Colleton High School Alumni Association was provided $2,010 in Walterboro funds to cover the cost of a historical marker to be placed at the Ray T. Johnson building at 229 Gruber St.
The Johnson building is home to a day care center and is used to host community events.
The funding will be part of the city’s local match for the Community Development Block Grant funding that was used in the third phase of the North Lemacks Street Revitalization, which was completed this year.
The city’s housing account, which is to be closed since that project was completed, will provide $1,497.72 of the sign’s cost. The remaining $512.28 will come from the city’s Park Department budget.
The text of the marker has been approved by the South Carolina Department of Archives and History.
Now that the funding has been secured from the city, the alumni association will contact Sewah Studios, the Ohio company that constructs the state’s historical markers.
Herman G. Bright, interim president of the Colleton Training School/Colleton High School Alumni Association Inc., in a letter sent to City Manager Jeff Molinari seeking assistance in funding the marker’s purchase, said, “We are very proud of this recognition being given to this historical site that trained the minds of so many African Americans in this community from 1925-1954.”
Bright’s letter went on to point out that the building “was originally built for the Tuskegee Airmen, who were stationed here in Walterboro; however, the war ended before they had the opportunity to use it.”
The wording provided by the alumni association and approved by the State Historical Preservation Office’s South Carolina Historical Marker Program takes up both sides of the marker.
Pat Grant, treasurer of the alumni association, said the group anticipates conducting dedication ceremonies for the historical marker in July.
The Colleton County Veterans Council wishes to update the veterans’ memorial with another plaque to honor those Colleton County residents who died in service of their country since the end of the Vietnam War.
The new plaque, the same design and size as the ones installed at the memorial when it was dedicated in 1990, will be entitled “The Global War on Terrorism.”
The next step for the members of the veterans’ council will be to work with the public to identify Colletonians who lost their lives while on active duty serving their country since the end of the Vietnam War.

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