Rolla Veterans Park Committee honors past heroes with flag presentation
The South Central Regional Veterans Park Committee was originally established in 2009 to develop, organize, coordinate and conduct promotional and fund raising efforts to establish a Veterans Memorial Park in Rolla. Since then, the mission has changed little. The park is nearing completion and the committee members remain busy fundraising.
Not long ago, the committee was contacted by the family of Lt. Wayne L. Decker, USNR. Decker had served during WWII and spent most of his service on Johnston Island as a meteorologist. He died on March 19, 2013 and was interned in Monroe, Iowa. His family was presented a memorial flag honoring his service and had been placed in storage for many years. A Nephew recently came across it and began looking for someone who could use it where it would better serve his uncle’s memory. The flag made it into the care and custody of the South Central Regional Veterans Group.
More recently, the South Central Regional Veterans Group was contacted by a citizen who had a veteran related question. The question concerned a friend who had been away from home for a while and, upon returning, found the home had been vandalized. While committing the crime, the vandals shattered a flag display and stolen a memorial flag that had been presented to the family during the funeral of George Harris Weitkamp who had served honorably during the Korean War. The flag had been displayed prominently in their home for all to see, until recently.
Upon hearing about this incident, members of the committee believed it fitting to replace both the display and the flag in a manner that would honor both brothers-in-arms. Decker and Weitkamp may have been from different states, served during different wars, in different branches of the service and doing different jobs; however, they both served the country they loved dearly.
A new shadow box was procured through a donation from the Jones Funeral Home in St. James. The glass facing was donated by Miller Glass in Rolla. The flag was refolded and a short note about Decker was inserted into the fold before the flag was placed inside the box.
On Jan. 30, 2021, the Board Chairman and Vice Chairman participated in the presentation of the Memorial to Nancy Jones, in Troy, to replace her grandfather’s flag and to honor the memory of both American heroes.