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Patriot Ride Makes Stop at New Patriot Park

By Derek Tyson, The Welch News Editor

WELCH, W.Va. – Locals and visitors alike hitting the pavement for Saturday’s Patriot Ride took a pit stop in Welch for the unveiling of the new Patriot Park.

Local singer T.J. Goins sang the National Anthem acapella, followed by City of Welch Council member Rev. William Spencer leading the crowd in prayer at Saturday’s dedication.

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1144 adorned the new park with a United States flag before the Pledge of Allegiance.

“We’re very lucky in Welch to do this to honor our veterans,” said Mayor of Welch Harold McBride.  

McBride commended the office staff of the City of Welch for keeping everything going, Stanley, Benito, Jeff and Teddy made this happen.

McBride commended both office and street department staff for months of dedication to the project.

“We’re not quite through yet. We’re actually going to put a walkway through the Park and around it, pedestals for plaques where families can honor anyone that’s served,” said McBride. “We wanted to include this with our Patriot Ride because without our veterans, we wouldn’t be able to do any of this.”

Former Department Commander of the Year of the American Legion, Frank Cooley, also spoke at Saturday’s dedication.

“What a day it is in the City of Welch for such an occasion. Each day that I come through, I always think of those men on these memorials,” said Cooley. “And the VFW, what a job these people do. The funerals and all the other things they do is just amazing.”

Cooley told the story of his tenure as Department Commander of the State of West Virginia, when American Legion membership rose from 48th in the nation to first place.

“At the end of that year, that boy from McDowell County and all the people across the state that helped me, we went from 48 to number 1 in the nation. I was so honored to be selected as Department Commander of the Year nationwide,” said Cooley. “So don’t say us people from McDowell County can’t do it, because we can.
Past Department Commander Barbara Burdette was in attendance and recognized at the event. Charles Honaker spoke as well, reading a poetic tribute to the American flag.

Afterwards, two wall monuments were unveiled for all in attendance. The Veterans of Foreign Wars presented a 21-gun salute followed by Taps to conclude Saturday’s ceremony.