By Dawn Cobb, director of community relations, Denton County
Early Tuesday morning, several veterans individually decided to clean the war memorial on the Denton County Courthouse-on-the-Square lawn after two individuals sprayed graffiti on it the night before.
“As a veteran, it comes natural to serve and do the right thing,” wrote Chad Finholt, one of five veterans who arrived on their own, in an email. Soon, Danford Statsny from the Denton County Facilities Department also arrived with supplies to help restore the memorial that commemorates residents of Denton County who served their country in the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Persian Gulf War.
“We look at that monument and are reminded of our friends and family that served before us and what so many have sacrificed for this country,” wrote Finholt, who served U.S. Army.
Justin Ward, who served in the Marine Corps, read a story in the Denton Record-Chronicle and decided to stop by and check the memorial, noting the spray paint. “I wanted to honor my brothers in arms by cleaning it up,” he said.
U.S. Navy veteran Troy Ivey was asleep when Ward texted him. “I went up to help get the job done,” he said.
Joel Edgar, who served with the U.S. Army, was just finished with his shift as a first responder when he stopped on the Denton Square to pick up trash. He saw people around the memorial and decided to help.
Garrett Woodham, who has plans to join the Marine Corps, saw what happened on Monday night at the protest, during which two individuals were arrested after nearby protestors pointed out what was being done to the memorial to law enforcement officers. “I came today out of respect for the soldiers,” he said.
Individually, these five veterans each decided their Tuesday morning task was an important one – one that many are calling honorable in social media posts.
Denton County Criminal Court 3 Judge Forrest Beadle offered his thanks on behalf of the “SGT Arthur O. McNitzky” American Legion Post 71 in a social media post. Once the crew finished their task, they were treated to breakfast across the street at Cartwright’s Ranch House, Beadle said.
“Denton County Commissioners Court appreciates their honoring the monument and the men and women which it represents,” said Precinct 2 Commissioner Ron Marchant. “We also appreciate those that returned this morning to clean the grounds of the Courthouse-on-the-Square for their thoughtfulness and the pride they have shown in their property.”
Paul Bastaich, Director of Veterans Services, called each of the volunteers to thank them. “I appreciate their willingness to go above and beyond not only in service to our country but also in cleaning the memorial that honors all of the men and women who have served on behalf of us all.”
As they were finishing up for the day, the veterans put their items in a bucket and said they would be back in the morning to check on the memorial – just in case.