By Lindsay Starr Platt, Correspondent
A walk down the sidewalk on Central Avenue in Belton and you will see bricks and pavers honoring members of the Armed Forces past and present. The bricks pave the sidewalks on Central Avenue in front of the Bell County Courthouse and Belton Area Chamber Commerce. The bricks and pavers were purchased by family and friends of service members lived in Bell County or those that wanted to honor someone in a place close to their home.
“The Belton Area Chamber of Commerce was searching for a meaningful way to honor those that have served in the armed forces throughout the years,” said Nicole Stairs, Program Director of Belton Area Chamber of Commerce. “The City of Belton was in the process of redesigning Central Avenue so the Patriot Way Brick Walk fell at a perfect time.”
The Belton Area Chamber of Commerce started the Patriot Way Brick Walk in 2008 and had its first dedication ceremony in 2010. As Central Avenue continues to be renovated, there will be more phases added to the walkway. With each phase, community members have the opportunity to purchase an engraved brick to recognize the military service of a family member or friend.
“One thing of note are the two storyboards on Patriot Way Brick Walk,” said Belton Area Chamber of Commerce President, Mark Arrazola. “One is about Keifer Marshall and the other is about Henry T. Waskow. Both of the storyboards were Leadership Belton projects.”
“My wife and I purchased bricks as Christmas presents for her father and grandfather, both Navy veterans. Her grandfather served in the Korean War. It was one of the most meaningful gifts we have ever given, especially now that her grandfather has passed.” said Belton resident Paul Romer. “On the day the bricks we purchased were installed, my wife’s grandfather and father immediately drove to Belton and took a picture together at the bricks, even though her grandfather’s health was not good. It is a special memory for our family.”
Bricks can be purchased by anyone for the honor of someone who is serving, has served, or has been lost during service in the armed forces. Bricks can be purchased for $60 a piece or two for $100. The form to order a brick for Patriot Way Brick Walk can be found at www.patriotwaybrickwalk.com.
“There have been almost 1,000 bricks laid so far,” said Stairs. “We will continue to add until we run out of room, which we expect won’t be for many years. Each person honored by a brick is important to not just Belton, but our country as well and the Belton Area Chamber of Commerce is humbled to be able to immortalize each and every one of them in stone.”