Smithfield Herald

January 24, 2014

Town aims to salute veterans

Town leaders are exploring options for a memorial to the local men and women who have served in the armed forces.

Town leaders are exploring options for a memorial to the local men and women who have served in the armed forces.

Recognizing veterans is a long-running tradition in the community. Each July, the town hosts a Family Fun Day that dedicates a portion of the program to honoring military members.

Erecting a permanent memorial is a perfect fit, said Councilman Mark Wilson. He and Archer Lodge Mayor Mike Gordon, both veterans, are spearheading the effort.

They are seeking to make the memorial a community-wide project by inviting residents to join a planning committee that will formulate a proposal for the project’s design, cost and construction.

“It’s important for our town to have some sort of memorial for veterans,” Wilson said. “We just felt it would be appropriate to recognize them.”

The idea is for the memorial to stand on unused land next to Town Hall on Buffalo Road.

“That end of our property is pie-shaped, and we really can’t do anything with it,” Gordon said. “It would be the perfect place to put something down there.”

For the past decade, Archer Lodge residents Connie and Mike Mulhollem have helped organize the town’s annual tribute to veterans. They have compiled names and photographs of nearly 150 local veterans from wars dating back to World War I.

The couple are eager to lend their ideas to the planning committee. Mike Mulhollem is a Marine Corps veteran who makes a point of visiting memorials during the couple’s travels. And the Mulhollems are thrilled with the idea of an Archer Lodge memorial.

“This is very special to us,” Connie Mulhollem said. “How wonderful will it be to have that every day for people to see as they pass by on the road? I am very proud to know we can do that here.”

Wilson expects the project will take at least a year to complete. The town will hold a meeting in February for all those interested in taking part in the planning. More information and an application are available at

Eventually, the committee will present its recommendations to the Town Council for approval. Gordon said the goal is to pay for the memorial entirely with donations, including corporate gifts.

“There is a desire that people have expressed to us to have a permanent memorial built,” Wilson said. “We’re going to see to it that we have one.”

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