I left my interview with Dublin’s Mayor David Underwood and flew as quickly as the still slippery roads would allow back to Comanche and the KIWANIS meeting where Colten Jones and Kailee Hansmire were speaking to the local group’s lunch meeting. The two teens had given me the head’s up, and I KNEW I was positively interested in the project about which they would be speaking.
By the time I arrived, Shirley Dukes, Communications/Public Information Specialist for the CECA, was ready to introduce the pair, and she began her intro by reminding everyone that it was actually students who attended the CECA Student Leadership Conference who began the lighting project on the Comanche square and we all know where that has gone!
Colten began the presentation while Kailee presented everyone with a very simple visual of what their leadership project will look like.
Obviously, the students who attended the last CECA Student Leadership Conference* were looking for a project that would be even greater and carry even more impact than the Christmas lights, and Colten explained that this is a project that will be built on over the course of a few years and that it will not all happen this year.
So what has this group of students chose for a project?
Both Colten and Kailee were very excited to explain that the city has given the group permission to build what sounds like an absolutely fabulous memorial to honor all Comanche veterans. It is obviously going to be a very expensive project to do it correctly, and that is the reason that it will not be completed in a year or by this particular group of students who do, however, plan to get the initial framework of the tribute built on their watch.
The memorial will be in the shape of a star. Although the exact dimensions have yet to be finalized, at the moment it is scaled at 70 feet from tip to tip. At each point of the star, will be a flag that represents each branch of the service.
Of course, there will also be the American flag, the Texas flag, as well as the town flag. Exactly where the POW flag will be placed is still being decided. This year’s leadership group has high hopes of raising the funds so that this much of the memorial will be their contribution to the project.
The group would love to see the work done by the week of July 4, and they are looking at a cost of about $20,000 to make that happen.
Eventually, he project will include pedestals, with each holding a statue that represents each branch of the service, and obviously, the entire project will be lighted so that it can be seen at night. Yes, it is going to be very, costly, but what a fabulous tribute from an area that sends so many of its young people into the service of Uncle Sam.
“It may take a few years to get the funding for the entire project,” mayor Ronnie Clifton said, “but I think getting the flags up will show people that we are serious, and it will help us raise the funds.”
“Whether you can give or not,” Jones added, “we need people to support it, talk about it, and tell others about it. People won’t give if they don’t know about it.”
Once again, I take my hats off to the students of Comanche High School, to Mayor Ronnie Clifton, to Shirley Dukes, and every other hardworking volunteer in Comanche, Texas. You ARE making a difference!
* I do not know to what extent all of these students are involved in the project; however, those students who attended this year’s conference were Kaylee Pickett, Colten Jones, Daniel Volleman, Jeff Koster, Juan Noguez, Zane Kargakos, NoAmie Flores, Kailee Hansmire, Sandra Schwartz, and Ethan Creech. Madison Hagood did not attend the conference but has been very involved in the project.