Greenback students build monument to military service

Amy Beth Miller

Greenback School unveiled a new military Wall of Honor on Wednesday built by students with community support.                                   

The sign near the school’s main entrance says “Greenback honors all of our students who have served, are serving, and will serve,” and it is flanked by emblems for the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, National Guard and Coast Guard.

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“We wanted it to be in a visible spot, so it will be a constant reminder,” said Assistant Principal Tonya Cope.

“We did it out of respect,” said senior Nathan Wampler, who worked on the project. “We want everyone to know that Greenback cares.”
A dedication ceremony Wednesday morning included about 20 veterans, as well as community, school and government leaders. Veteran Ken Shockley, whose patriotism helped inspire the project, also was honored.
Eleven students worked on the monument, including a core group of five who handled the main construction. Although school officials originally thought the wall wouldn’t be complete until the next school year, students worked to finish it before four seniors working on the project graduated.
“Lots of those kids gave up their own time, Saturdays and after school,” Cope said.
Carpentry teacher Gray Williams led the main group of students, including Wampler and fellow seniors Kevin Ogle, Jake Rhyne and Frank Roy, as well as Kevin Coada. The support group, which worked on the landscaping, was led by agriculture teacher Katie Edwards and carpentry teacher Dan O’Neill and included Austin Anderson, Kevin Sayne, Ryan Guard, Brennan Weeks, Cory Burchfield and Garrick Robinson.
Donations of time and materials for the project came from Lee Heights Monument, Lambcon Ready Mix, General Shale and Bo Lee Masonry.
“Service is a value we try to instill in our students every day,” Cope said, and the monument and people it honors will be a reminder of that.
After graduation, Wampler and Ogle will be joining the Army.
“I knew college would not be the next best thing for me,” Wampler said of his choice to join the Army and be a horizontal construction engineer. Wampler said he couldn’t imaging spending four more years in school right now, or even four more weeks.
Ogle, who will be a truck driver in the Army, agreed with that sentiment. After laying brick for the wall, they’re not eager to go into masonry right now either.