Heroes: Kingsport Veterans Memorial Committee

Behind most every success is a successful team. The Kingsport Veterans Memorial Committee fits the definition of success in so many ways, including being comprised of almost all veterans. After all, who better to know how to effectively honor and remember those who served than a fellow veteran?

The task of making the Kingsport Veterans Memorial a reality required a group of passionate, focused, and determined individuals who already knew the honor, courage and sacrifice necessary.

Led by Kingsport Tomorrow Executive Director Susan H. LaGuardia and chaired by United States Army (retired) Major Jim Erwin, the Kingsport Veterans Memorial Committee began meeting not long after the community workshop held on August 28, 2005 by LaGuardia. Over the next two and half years the
committee met at least monthly, often meeting more frequently as all sensed the urgency and desire to finally provide Kingsport with a much needed, long overdue location to pay honor and respect to its veterans.

“Most committee members were from the Vietnam era,” said LaGuardia. “Their service on the committee proved to be a bonding experience for them. And the skills they brought were so needed.”

Navy Reserve Rear Admiral (retired) John McKinley was selected to serve as chair of the Kingsport Veterans Memorial Fundraising Subcommittee. He was joined on the subcommittee by LaGuardia, Erwin, and United States Navy Captain (retired) Herb V. Ladley. Architect Jim Henderson also participated providing his design for potential donors to view.

In addition to organizing, the Kingsport Veterans Memorial Committee also set about choosing a site for the memorial to be located, selecting an architect, and a picking a general contractor to perform the construction. This, of course, oversimplifies the role performed by each and every one of those serving
on the Kingsport Veterans Memorial Committee, but they were involved in so many details from start to completion. Their work will forever be appreciated and admired by a city and its veterans, grateful for their service.

See the following list for the full Kingsport Veterans Memorial Committee:

Jim Erwin, Project Chairman
Gerald Cardwell
Mary Cowden
Rev. Kurt Dibble
Lee Fish
Ron Herron
Baxter Hood
Sam Jones
William Kelly
Nina Ketron
Powell King
Herb V. Ladley
Bob Lange
John McKinley, Fundraising Chairman
Mark Munsey
Nick Patrick
Nancy Rachel
Martha Rector
Richard Samples
Tony Shipley

Paul Williams
John Wright


Jim Henderson, Architect
Kingsport Tomorrow City of Kingsport
Susan LaGuardia, Executive Director Kitty Frazier, Director, Depart of Parks & Recreation
Cathy Tucker, Executive Administrator Kevin Dye
Mark Tucker, Volunteer Bonnie McDonald