CUMMING, Ga. – A Boy Scout pursuing his Eagle rank wants to give new life to Cumming’s Veterans War Memorial, but city leaders put the brakes on his project as they consult with veterans on how to pursue.
Samuel Belnap, 13, a leader in Senior Troop 423, proposed doing work at the memorial, 301 Veterans Memorial Boulevard. He presented his ideas to Cumming City Council members at their Feb. 19 regular meeting and said he and his troop would foot the $5,000 estimated cost of the project.
“Some of the monuments are in a state of disrepair and neglect,” Belnap said.
Belnap proposed fixing cracked walkways, changing out broken lights and adding sun-shaded benches.
Among the changes, adding signs to identify the memorial from the road at both entrances adjacent to the Cumming Police Department.
“Do you know how many people drove by the memorial and not known where it was?” he asked.
Belnap would also like to include a pillar to honor veterans who have died in the most recent War on Terror.
“All too often, our veterans... are lost in the crowd,” Belnap told council during his presentation. “I believe the items I’m proposing will add to the reverence of the memorial.”
Belnap, whose great-grandfather served in World War II, told council members that if they don’t approve his proposal to at least consider his changes.
“Our troop will treat the memorial with the utmost respect,” he said of his troop, which is chartered by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The memorial, which was built using input from veterans and business leaders, was put up during the Gulf War in 1990s to pay homage to men and women of Cumming and Forsyth County who served on foreign and American soil.
At the time, the project cost about $275,000, said Mayor H. Ford Gravitt.
“We’re 20 years old now, and obviously there’s some cracks and so forth in it that needs to be repaired,” Gravitt said. “But before anything can be approved, we’ve got a lot of people to talk to.”
Gravitt said he will ask for advice from various area veterans organizations.
“It’s a beautiful memorial,” Gravitt said. “Certainly, we want to do everything we can to honor our veterans and our heroes and the work they do to keep us safe.”