|Linda Thompson, Springlake-Earth ISD librarian since 1993, was the "driving force" behind the Veterans Wall.
In the spring of 2002, Linda was taking a group of students to Austin to the State Student Council Convention. As they drove, they were brainstorming about projects for the council the following year. A Veterans Wall was suggested. As Linda was an "army brat," she remembered the lack of recognition of Viet Nam vets and thought a memorial for all veterans would be a worthwhile and much needed project.
Upon her return, Linda approached Robert Conkin, Springlake-Earth ISD superintendent, who gave her a green light to pursue the project. A group of veterans in the community had also had the vision for a memorial of some kind to honor the men and women who served in the military. Along with Linda, veterans Roger Haberer, Norman Hinchliffe, Tommy Alair, and Ed Dawson began planning, and after much deliberation, they decided on building a veterans wall. They chose a site, decided on the walls size, and determined how the names would be displayed.
This group had about 200 names of people who had served in the military. Linda spoke at the Veterans Breakfast in November, 2002, at the Senior Citizens, at the Lions Clubs in both Earth and Springlake, and word began to spread of the proposed wall. Names began to "pour" in and Linda built a database of over 500 veterans names. Enthusiasm for the wall continued to spread via class reunions, family and friends, and, as Linda stated, "The whole Springlake-Earth community came together to contact veterans." The requirement for having your name on the wall is to have lived in our community at some time and to have served in the military.
Mr. Conkin told Linda of the Texas Center for Service Learning Grant, but the deadline for submitting it was the next week. Working diligently, Linda presented the completed grant in person before the deadline. In October, 2002, a grant of $2000 was awarded toward the completion of the wall. City Bank, with a branch in Springlake, and S-E ISD matched finds, for a total of $6,000. The student council held a benefit dinner in December 2002. Many people not only paid for their brick, but donated money toward the expenses of the wall. The total cost so far is $16,599.
Concrete was poured for the wall in November 2002, and bricks were added in the summer of 2003. The east side of the wall is filled with veterans names, dates of service, and branch of service. Although there are some completed bricks on the west side, there are also bricks available for inscription.
Future plans for this project include adding a patio and benches on the west side of the wall, as well as putting information about the veterans in book form. Currently, you can order a DVD which includes pictures of the veterans, dates of military service, and branch of service and the Veterans Day program held November 22, 2003.
Linda Duckworth, library assistant, helped with the project by keeping the library running smoothly while Linda was busy with the project. Mrs. Duckworth also answered many questions and helped spread word of the wall. April Garcia and Linda Duckworth were responsible for the bookkeeping involved in the project. April and Iliana Melendez scanned pictures, helped send invitations for the Veterans Day ceremony, did the final computer processing of pictures to put on the DVD, and took pictures and filmed the program on November 22, 2003.
The community is very appreciative of all the hard work Linda Thompson has done, and continues to do, to take this project from a dream into reality.