A local park to honor veterans has been vandalized – repeatedly.
The Brooke-Hancock County Veterans Memorial Park is a place of reflection and reverence. But lately it’s been the site of illegal and disrespectful activity.
A walk through the park is a walk through history.
A few dedicated volunteers care for the park, which houses a collection of military artifacts and personalized bricks.
“This is a place where we want people to come and honor the veterans,” said Guz Monezis, park committee member.
But scroll through the park’s Facebook page and you’ll see that’s not what’s happening.
A post last week says the park was left “full of garbage.” One from May describes landscape rocks thrown into grassy areas. And another shows damaged downspouts.
“Somebody’s vandalizing the park here and they’re leaving their garbage,” Monezis said.
Monezis noted the problems center around the park shelter. The park’s location may also present a challenge.
You’ll notice the park right off the highway as you head into Weirton. But it falls in Brooke County’s jurisdiction.
“This is the first i’ve heard of it, if someone’s doing that it’s a despicable crime,” Brooke County Sheriff Larry Palmer said.
Palmer understandably would not provide specifics about when and where his deputies patrol, but said they’ll be on the lookout now.
Palmer says that law enforcement will take the activity at the park seriously.
“Yes, simply for the fact that it’s a disgrace,” Palmer said. “Like I said earlier, it’s a park that’s designed specifically to honor our veterans.”
Brooke County Commissioner Tim Ennis was also notified of these issues, who said he would discuss it with the other commissioners.
“It’s really heartbreaking to learn that something like this is going on,” he said.
As a short-term solution, park caregivers have removed the trash cans because people were dumping them. They also plan to remove the picnic table and replace it with some benches to discourage problem loiters.
But it may take more than that to protect the place meant to honor those who have protected us.
The committee, the sheriff and the commissioners have said they’ll look into the problems to see how they can help.