On May 25, Memorial Day, the Lake Oconee Elks Lodge held a Memorial Day program to honor those veterans who have died in service to this great country. The Elks also dedicated the new Veterans’ Wall, located in front of the Lodge. Boy Scouts Troop 30 conducted a flag retirement ceremony.
Elk John Hunt was the emcee of the program, which started with a pledge to the flag and Elk Scott Deering singing the national anthem. Taps were played and the dedication to the Veterans’ Wall came next.
Boy Scout Jake Prendergast built the wall as his Eagle Scout project and describes the effort as follows: “My name is Jake Prendergast and I am a member of the Boy Scouts in Troop 30 in Greensboro. This is my Eagle Scout project. When you are eligible to become an Eagle Scout you have to do a final project that serves the community and helps the people there.
“This project is an addition to the memorial and flag post located in Eatonton at Magnolia Center. It is a wood structure topped with slate. The structure will be able to hold 140 bricks. The Elks Lodge is selling the bricks for $125 that can be customized with three lines with up to 20 characters each line. The bricks have to be Elk sponsored. The money will go to local Veterans in need. We plan on raising about $17,500 for Veterans.”
Elk Mike Jones, a WWII veteran, spoke about the plaque in the center of the wall that is in memory of Rudyard Keith Wickliffe, a member of his family. Wickliffe was a sergeant in the US Army Air Forces, Gunner-Medium Bombers that went Missing In Action during Leyte Gulf WWII.
After the wall dedication, the Scouts conducted the flag retirement ceremony. They always do a wonderful job retiring old worn-out flags in an honorable way which includes explaining what each stripe and star stands for before cutting the flag to be retired into strips before placing into the flames.
Thank you to Boy Scout Troop 30 for a job well done and a special thank you to Jake for the fantastic job he did on the Veteran Wall project as well as Bob Nash, Elks Lodge veteran wall chairman. As the wall is filled with bricks, it will be enjoyed for years to come.