Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

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April 16, 2014

Group asks Barren County Fiscal Court to help honor Purple Heart recipients with road signs

GLASGOW — A project underway in a few other states to memorialize Purple Heart medal recipients may soon come to this area of Kentucky.

Jimmie Dixon, president of Rolling Thunder Kentucky Chapter 2, asked Barren County Fiscal Court on Tuesday for what he pitched as a minimal amount of support for the effort. The Street Memorial Project originated with a New York chapter of the national Rolling Thunder organization, which supports veterans’ causes and promotes awareness of prisoner of war and missing in action issues in particular, and began spreading from there.

Dixon said the idea was passed along at a national meeting in November.

The signage essentially designates a second, unofficial name for a street or road with the medal recipient’s name as part of it, and an image of the Purple Heart is along the top of it.

Dixon said his chapter would pay for the signs in this area to be made. All they would need from the county would be the installation labor and materials such as brackets to attach the sign atop an existing one as has typically been done. If a standalone sign were to be erected, the county would be asked to pay for the posts and any other additional hardware required, he said.

The first one the chapter would want to do would be for the late Army Sgt. Justin Wilkerson, whose Purple Heart was awarded posthumously in March. Wilkerson died April 18, 2009.

The sign would be placed on South Lucas Road, where Wilkerson grew up and where some of his family members still live, Dixon said.

Asked how many veterans this would involve, Dixon said a considerable amount of research is yet to be done, but another one of whom he was personally aware is Army veteran Rex Harlow who was killed in action in Vietnam.

Judge-Executive Davie Greer said she believed the Transportation Committee would like to get more details on the idea and discuss the possibility, and Magistrate Carl Dickerson, committee chairman, agreed.

Dickerson told Dixon the committee will meet at 4 p.m. May 20 in one of the conference rooms adjacent to the fiscal court room.

Dixon said after the meeting that Wilkerson had also been a member of the Rolling Thunder chapter, so that was part of why they wanted to start with him.

He added the club would begin its project with deceased recipients and see how it goes and expand as it can. Documentation of the medal would have to be available before the process would go forward.

The club’s cost for each sign is $41.30, plus $10 for shipping, he said.

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