Plans revealed for Military Service Walk memorial in Uptown Colu - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Plans revealed for Military Service Walk memorial in Uptown Columbus

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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

With all of its military culture and pride, Columbus will soon have a new, creative way to appreciate the experiences of wartime service members and their families. 

A graduate class of Columbus State University's Servant Leadership Program announced plans on Wednesday, July 3,  to create a Military Service Walk (MSW) near the Chattahoochee River, at Woodruff Riverfront Park in Uptown, Columbus. 

Stuart Rayfield, Director of the CSU Servant Leadership Program, said the project will memorialize and honor the service of all service members and families of the Unites States Armed Forces.

"The project will demonstrate the sacrifices made in military communities by displaying correspondence between soldiers and their loved ones," says Rayfield. "The Military Service Walk will be a place that will evoke emotion and pride in the service of the Columbus-Fort Benning area through the portrayal of their correspondence in eras of conflict."

Students from the class are coordinating a public drive asking people to submit letters, journals, telegrams, texts, emails, tweets, chats, Facebook messages, or any (printable) communication between soldiers and the people who support them.

The submissions will all be reviewed by several groups. A final selection committee consisting of military representatives, military families, historians, archivists and students will select the pieces that best represent the mission of the project.

The selected submissions will be permanently displayed in the MSW and all the submissions will become part of CSU's archives. The graduate students hope to have several displays of the submissions prior to the final selection and will be displaying many of the submissions on a Facebook page called Military Service Walk.

Organizers expect that many of the submissions will be from Army soldiers, and hope to have submissions from all other branches of the military as well in order for the walk to honor all of the Armed Forces.

As the project is still in the architectural design stage, organizers say the public contributions to the project will help drive the design. 

Funding for Phase I of the project has already been secured from several local donors, including a large gift of support from the JW and Ethel I Woodruff Foundation. Chris Woodruff, the Secretary Treasurer of the Foundation, noted the project is in keeping with the values of the Foundation's Trustees. 

"We understand and greatly appreciate the sacrifice of those who have served our country in the military, and the families who support them," says Woodruff. "We are pleased to be able to support such a worthy project that will help honor those brave men and women and their families."   

Submissions to the project can be made at any branch of Columbus Bank and Trust (CB&T) or via email to militaryservicewalk@columbusbankandtrust.com.

All branches of CB&T will have a duffle bag display about the project with full details.

Billy Blanchard, President of CB&T said they were honored to be a part of the project. "Recognizing the service and sacrifice of our military and their families is a value we hold deeply at CB&T and we are very honored to offer the entire community an opportunity to do that at any branch of CB&T," he says.

Groundbreaking for Phase I of the project is expected to take place in mid-November.

CSU students involved in the project include David Kim, Rebecca Holman, Matt Pierson, Ellie Flowers, Rich Cellino, Darren Fite, Vince Demarest, and Kate McCray.

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