The City of Manchester is active in its support of veterans, thanks in part to partnerships between the City’s Veterans Commission and organizations such as the Greater St. Louis Honor Flight, Walter Le Pere American Legion Post 208, and the Kaufman Fund. Representatives from these organizations, along with dedicated residents, work year-round to contribute to the recognition and care of our country’s veterans.
This year, the City of Manchester’s Veterans Commission is serving the Flags of Valor effort by pairing the 7,500 photos and dog tags of the heroes memorialized on Art Hill. More than 100 volunteers responded to the call to help and now the careful work has been completed. Over the course of four sessions this summer, volunteers gathered together both to accomplish this important task, but also to pay homage to the memorialized soldiers as each session began with Gold Star families sharing the life and service of their hero. These moving testimonials of love and sacrifice served as inspiration for the detailed and important work, bringing to life the heroes represented in the dog tags and photos. Manchester has been honored to host Jeanine Rainey speaking of her son Army 1st Lt. Dan Riordan; Sandy Wirtz who shared about her son, former Navy Seal and Defense Intelligence Officer, Scott “Scotty” Wirtz; Chris Andrews speaking of her daughter, Army Sgt. Amanda Pinson; Sue Jacobs who shared about her son, Army Sgt. Zachary Fisher; Janie Walker speaking of her grandson, Army Spc. Matthew Walker; and Steve and Cathy Roche who shared about their son, USMC Capt. Kevin Roche.
Mayor Mike Clement, part of the City of Manchester coordinating team, expressed praise for the large number of volunteers and their commitment to remember fallen heroes and their sacrifice. Clement also commented, “Not only are our volunteers working to pair up dog tags and photos, but many are seeking more opportunities to serve the fallen veterans and their families.The Flags of Valor initiative invites broad community awareness for fallen and living veterans and their needs.”
Work on the dog tags and photos concludes in early August, allowing time to address any concerns before the installation of the flags in September. A team from the City of Manchester will then deliver the photos and dog tags to flag team leaders on the morning of installation on Art Hill.
Megan Denell Huether
Alderman, Ward 2
City of Manchester, MO