Special to the Journal The Belton Area Chamber of Commerce will hold a special Veterans Day ceremony at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 10 in the front parking lot of the Chamber office at 412 E. Central Avenue in Belton. The ceremony will include presenting of the colors by the Belton High School MCJROTC Color Guard, greetings from community leaders, and presentations by local VFW commanders. The ceremony will also include the unveiling of a new story board honoring Colonel Thomas J. Curtis, USAF Retired, former prisoner of war in North Vietnam for over 7 years. This storyboard was sponsored by VFW Post 4008, VFW Post 10377, MOAA Central Texas, the City of Belton, and the Belton Area Chamber of Commerce. Randy Pittenger, President/CEO of the Belton Chamber, described this event as a way for our community to honor our veterans in a special way, and to draw attention to the Patriot Way Brick Walk. “We are excited to honor those who have served our country and our community with this Veteran’s Day ceremony, and we are especially excited to recognize the veterans honored with bricks added during the past year to the Patriot Way Brick Walk. The story board is extra special in that we are able to share the story of Colonel Curtis for generations to come,” stated Pittenger. The Belton Area Chamber of Commerce and its Military Relations Committee has coordinated this ceremony with representatives of local VFW’s in order for this to be a memorable and significant event. The plan is for a ceremony to be held each Veteran’s Day at this site to recognize the bricks added during the preceding year. This ceremony at 11 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 10 is open to the public and everyone is encouraged to join in honoring our veterans for their service and commitment to our country and our community. The Patriot Way Brick Walk was originally established as a joint effort of the Belton Area Chamber of Commerce and City of Belton when Central Avenue was renovated. Central Avenue is Belton’s gateway, entering Belton from Interstate 35, passing in front of the Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center, and reaching the historic Bell County Courthouse in downtown Belton. As the City of Belton reconstructed Central Avenue with underground utilities, brick pavers, lamp posts, and sidewalks during a multiyear effort following the 2008 bond election, community members worked together to plan the Patriot Way Brick Walk project, which was completed in phases. The first brick for the Patriot Way Brick Walk was dedicated to soldiers who died during Operation Iraqi Freedom at a special ceremony on February 12, 2009 to kick off phase one of the program. On Veteran’s Day in 2010, a ceremony was held to recognize completion of phase one, with the first 400 bricks added. In 2011, the 80 foot tall flagpole was added to Patriot Plaza, located at the east end of Central Avenue on the I-35 frontage road. Then on November 8, 2013 a special ceremony was held at the Patriot Plaza to recognize the completion of phase two. In addition to the flag pole, Patriot Plaza has bronze medallions recognizing the branches of our military. Phase 3 of the Patriot Way Brick Walk project provided story boards installed by the Leadership Belton Class of 2011. Currently there are three story boards located along Central Avenue, with one explaining the overall project, another recognizing Captain Henry T. Waskow, and a third recognizing Keifer Marshall, Jr. In 2021, a new sign was added in order to draw more attention to the Patriot Way Brick Walk as vehicles drove through Belton. “Our Military Relations Committee led the effort to add this sign in order to draw additional attention to the Patriot Way Brick Walk,” added Pittenger. “Although it is an important part of our community, many do not know about it unless they are walking on the sidewalk. Now, those who drive down Central Avenue will see a reminder of it and perhaps stop to learn more and honor our veterans.” Bricks have been added regularly as veterans are honored by friends and family. Order forms are available at the Chamber office or online at the Chamber website, www.beltonchamber.com. In addition, the website contains a searchable listing of all bricks added to the Patriot Way Brick Walk. For more information about the Belton Area Chamber of Commerce, visit the website at www.beltonchamber.com, call 254-939-3551, or email info@beltonchamber.com