Unnamed donor comes to memorial’s rescue

By Tom Joyce - tjoyce@civitasmedia.com
This monument to Surry County service personnel who died in World War I, shown on the ground in recent days after being toppled by a vehicle, has been removed for repair. - Tom Joyce | The News

A recently damaged monument to Surry County military members who made the supreme sacrifice in World War I soon will be restored to its former glory, thanks to an anonymous donor.

The war memorial at Oakdale Cemetery on North Main Street in Mount Airy, listing the names of 30 men who died from 1917-18, was struck by an alleged hit-and-run driver on May 17 and toppled from its foundation. The granite monument that is 4 to 5 feet tall remained flat on the ground for more than two months as local officials sought to resolve liability and insurance issues in mitigating the situation.

This prompted community concerns about the marker being left in such a state for an indefinite period.

But City Manager Barbara Jones reported Tuesday that the memorial has been removed from the cemetery for repair.

Jones added that her office was notified earlier in the day of this development by Rawley King, a longtime member of local Jesse B. Jones Post 123 of the American Legion.

That group, named for one of those who died in World War I, is the official owner of the marker that was erected on July 4, 1936, at another location and later wound up at Oakdale Cemetery.

The anonymous donor came forward and agreed to fix the structure, Jones related, which will be placed back in the cemetery. No timetable has been given for that.

Bradley Dean Holder, 20, of Mount Airy, was charged with hit and run/leaving the scene involving property damage in the wake of the monument being struck. Holder was traveling north on North Main Street when the 1986 Chevrolet he was operating left the roadway and hit the memorial.

Also damaged during the incident were grave stones for the final resting places of former city commissioners Charles Lowry and his son Frank as well as those of Jesse and Frances Smith.

There is a question about whether Holder had permission to drive the vehicle, which prompted liability and insurance uncertainties.

Members of the Mount Airy Cemetery Commission, which oversees the city-owned Oakdale facility, addressed the issue during a meeting on July 19.

There was discussion then that the memorial possibly would be moved to Veterans Memorial Park on West Lebanon Street by the American Legion.

Yet the matter of righting the monument appeared to have been left up in the air until the next meeting of that group on Aug. 14 — while it continued to rest on the ground.

The hit-and-run case is set for the Aug. 28 session of Surry District Court.

This monument to Surry County service personnel who died in World War I, shown on the ground in recent days after being toppled by a vehicle, has been removed for repair.
https://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/web1_Fix-this.jpgThis monument to Surry County service personnel who died in World War I, shown on the ground in recent days after being toppled by a vehicle, has been removed for repair. Tom Joyce | The News

By Tom Joyce

tjoyce@civitasmedia.com

Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.

Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.