PREBLE COUNTY — As fair-goers make their way up and down the midway during the Preble County Fair this week they may notice a trailer manned by members of the Preble County Honor Guard.
A closer look at the trailer reveals a traveling memorial to Preble County veterans. The trailer will be on display for the remainder of the week.
“It’s a memorial for the veterans that have served and passed away. But really it’s for all veterans,” said honor guard member Phil Hurst. “We do it to honor the veterans. That’s the first thing. Then we do it for the public because they come in and put stuff on for their loved ones.”
The PCHG recently acquired an enclosed trailer and has converted it into a Mobile Military Memorial to honor the service and memory of Preble County’s military veterans. Display cabinets mounted on the inside trailer walls contain uniforms, patches, medals, pictures, letters, equipment, and other military memorabilia which has been donated or is on loan by local vets.
The centerpiece of the display is a black memorial wall upon which will hang “Memorial Tags” of deceased Preble County veterans. The tags contain the name, branch of service, and theater of service of each veteran.
“We’ve only been keeping records since about 2009,” Hurst said.
The trailer and its contents are currently on display on the midway at the Preble County Fair. It will be on display at other various functions throughout the county, including Pork Festival, West Alexandria Oktoberfest, Lewisburg Derby Days, Camden Black Walnut Festival, certain PC Historical Society functions, and other public events.
“We will be at anyplace in Preble County where there are going to be people gathering,” Hurst said. “It will be on display for people to come in and make a donation, pay their respects.”
Memorial tags will be available for purchase and placement on the wall at each event, for a cost of $6. Each night at the fair, at 6 p.m., the names added to the wall during the fair are read over the loud speaker while Taps is being played.
During the first weekend of the fair, approximately 25 names have gone up on the wall.
“For some reason veterans’ stuff has been on people’s minds here lately,” Hurst said. “It’s making a big impact.”
The PCHG is still seeking additional military memorabilia for display, including photographs.
“We had a lot of good responses,” said Gene Hembree, commander of the Preble County Honor Guard. “A lot of the older (veterans) come in and see it and they really enjoy it. It was just an idea we kicked around last year while we were watching people walk by.”
For more information or to donate, contact Hembree at 937-533-1283 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or Hurst at 937-478-4450 or email email@example.com.