Historical Perspective of Veterans Memorial Park
The Veterans Memorial Park concept first came into being around 2004 when a letter to the Editor of the Rolla Daily News was submitted asking why Rolla did not have a Veterans Park. Members of the Korean War Veterans Association commented about reading the letter at their next meeting and agreed to begin researching the possibility.
After discussions and meetings with the Rolla City Mayor, Administrator, Council and other Veterans Organizations, the possibility turned into a reality. The City of Rolla dedicated a portion of land on Lions Club Drive, formally naming it Veterans Memorial Park. A dedication was held at the site on February 21, 2004. Although members of the Veterans Organizations were actively meeting with City Officials since 2004 to create a Veterans Memorial Park, they had not officially become a Veterans Memorial Park Committee (VMPC).
During this time the Veterans group encountered it’s first major hurdle. The venue had major problems in that vehicular and pedestrian access would be limited for the next 20 years. This was addressed with the City Council and another site, off Southview Drive was suggested which was already accessible by vehicle and was ready to be developed. The Veterans group accepted the site and like the previous site, there was no money in the City budget for creation of the park. The Veterans group would have to promote and plan methods to raise the money and it was agreed upon. The site on Southview Drive was officially dedicated on Memorial Day, May 28, 2007.
A "Veterans Memorial Park Committee" (VMPC ) was formed on July, 2007, at a meeting held at the VFW post with the original members: Bill Wright, Cdr VFW; Chris Johnson, Cdr American Legion; Paul Schuler, JR. Cdr DAV; Les Burris Cdr KWVA and Harrison Meaux, Jr. 1st Vice Cdr KWVA and Jimmy Brown, American Legion. Harrison Meaux was elected chairman.
With the City's agreement the Committee was to take operational control of the property. Using donations, grants, and fund raising, they would transform the property into an actual park complex consisting of walking trails, memorials, an amphitheater, and other items to commemorate and honor not only area veterans, but all veterans.
Shortly after that, the VMPC decided it would be better fitting to change it’s name to something that better represented the team. As a result of the Committees Membership and realizing their parent organizations represent Veterans from a large area, the Committee voted to change its name to the South Central Regional Veterans Group (SCRVG). They also formalized the intent to include all veterans, regardless of their agency affiliation, from the following counties; Crawford, Dent, Howell, Laclede, Maries, Oregon, Phelps, Pulaski, Shannon, and Texas. Also Jerry Bumpus, President, Retired Enlisted Association became members.
Since that time, the SCRVG has obtained a 501c designation and can now both provide charitable tax receipts for donations and apply for various grants to complete the parks development. Although not complete, the property has visually transformed into what can be recognized as a Memorial Park and is now used for a number of events including the City’s Memorial Day Observance.