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Wall Visit in Great Bend a Huge Success

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GREAT BEND, Kan. – On May 11-14, 2023 the Great Bend community was honored to host the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Replica Wall & Education Center in Al Burns Field in Veterans Memorial Park. This Free Event was an amazing collaboration of many organizations and volunteers.

According to Cathy Miller the VVMP Program Coordinator, Great Bend had just over 13,000 visitors while hosting the Wall that Heals, that is an impressive number and VVMP hosts were also impressed with Great Bends’ staffing of the wall and organization.

Committee Co-Chair Larry Parsons stated, “Thank you so much to all the team members and volunteers for a very successful event!” Doug Anspaugh, a team member and VVMR Volunteer to over a dozen different displays of the Wall That Heals, “I can say that the level of community support was inspiring. Everyone from the sponsors, committee and volunteers who worked, to the visitors and students that attended made this an amazing experience for all involved. I’m so proud to be from Great Bend and Barton County!”

Kim Nollette, Volunteer Coordinator stated, “our community came together and stepped up in such a big way. The people honored and recognized the Vietnam Veterans as they truly deserved! It makes me so proud and touched the lives and helped others heal!”

Mike Harbaugh, a Veteran Team members said, “I felt honored to be there and listen to the stores that the Vietnam Veterans told. It was amazing that they were able to share with their families the stories at the Wall that Heals. It was a great and humbling experience, I’m so grateful to be part of the team that brought it to Great Bend!”

Chris Krueger, a Veteran Team Member and Escort Coordinator, said “I was so impressed with the escort turnout in Claflin, Hoisington and Great Bend to welcome The Wall That Heals. When I turned onto Great Bend Main Street and saw all the flags, I had to blink a lot! I also noticed that even though people didn’t know anyone on the wall, it was still a wonderful chance to share stories and learn about this war.”

Tim Nollette, Committee Co-Chair stated, “I loved how there was such a diverse group of people that helped throughout the process! All different occupations, generations and cultures, but came together as a unit to provide this for the community. The high school aged volunteers gave me hope and inspiration for our future and the stories I heard from Veterans had never been told before.”

Scott Donovan, a team member stated, “I learned a lot from the Veterans I met, I still shed tears when I think about the stories I heard and what these men and women went through and the families they left behind. I appreciate the endless hours from a small group of caring committee members to make this happen for Great Bend.”

Melanie Nollette, Team member said, “People continue to stop and tell me what an awesome project it was! I’m proud of my grandpa Larry Parsons for having the idea of bringing this to town and I learned so much more about the history and the sacrifices that were made for our country!”

The City Representatives were Scott Keeler, Christina Hayes and Amanda Gaddis, and from the public lands and promotions side of things, Hayes said, “I am truly honored to be part of this project and journey – every step of the way we were coordinating and working to provide the very best experience for all, and thank you to each and every volunteer and attendee for taking part in this honorable tribute to our Vietnam Veterans!”

Additional Committee members other than those listed above included David Meter, Boe Levingston and the countless volunteers that helped this process. On behalf of the committee and team from the Great Bend Wall That Heals, THANK YOU for making this event so successful and impactful for our community and beyond!

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