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Thursday, May 5, 2016

'Righting a wrong'

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Donations are being accepted to add PSgt. Harold Dickerson's name to the Vietnam War Memorial, which is located on the northwest corner of the Clay County Courthouse lawn. Dickerson died in action on Nov. 11, 1967, and was not included on the memorial when it was built in the late 1970s. [Order this photo]
*Donations being sought to honor veteran

Donations are being sought to ensure that a wrong is corrected.

About a month ago, Clay County Veterans Service Officer Mike Holland and Center Point resident John Nicoson began seeking out the family of a Clay County soldier who was killed in action during the Vietnam War.

Clay County Veterans Service Officer Mike Holland
Army PSgt. Harold Dickerson, who lived in Poland, was a causality of hostile gun or small arms fire in the Kontam Province of South Vietnam on Nov. 11, 1967. Dickerson was the second of 10 Clay County residents who would die in action during the war.

In the late 1970s, Clay County dedicated a memorial for those who died during the Vietnam War. However, the memorial, which sits near the northwest corner of the Clay County Courthouse lawn, did not include Dickerson's name.

"I'm not sure why his name was left off the memorial, but we are in the process of righting a terrible wrong," Holland told The Brazil Times.

With Nicoson's assistance, some of Dickerson's family members were found to be living in Rockville, and notified them of wanting to add Harold's name to the memorial.

"We are planning to make new bronze plaques for the memorial," Nicoson said. "By doing this, we will not only add Harold to the list of those who died serving in Vietnam, but also list them in the order in which all 10 bravely gave their lives."

Holland added he is still waiting for estimates on creating the new plaques, but is hoping the community will support the goal of adding the fallen soldier to the memorial.

"There is a need for funding to help put Mr. Dickerson's name on the memorial," he said.

After discussing the plans with Clay County Commissioner Charlie Brown, Holland and Nicoson discovered other ideas were in the works to make the memorial stand out.

"There are times I go out to pick up the courthouse lawn and find empty bottles laying on the memorial, or I'll see people using it as a bench during parades and it really disheartens me," Brown said. "I had been thinking about adding some lights or a walk up to it. It just needs something to help it stand out and help remind people of the importance of our local veterans."

Holland said any donations above and beyond what is needed for the plaques will go toward beautification of the memorial, along with possible creation of an additional memorial.

"I'm hoping to build a Sept. 11/Iraqi/Afghanistan War memorial, which would include Gregory Stultz, who died in February," Holland told The Brazil Times.

Nicoson, who also served in Vietnam from 1969-70 as part of the 101st Airborne, said he encourages residents to help right a wrong, and continue to remember all service members of the armed forces.

"We are lucky to have people and Commissioners who care about our veterans and are willing to get things done," he said. "While we are getting Harold's name on the memorial, there could be others out there."

Brown and Holland added they hope to be able to rededicate the memorial on Loyalty Day, which is Saturday, May 7, 2011, along with have the theme reflective of remembering those who served in the Vietnam War.

"We are losing Vietnam Veterans faster due to cancers and we need to remember that they were part of a war too," he said. "That being said, I want to thank everyone that is willing to help us and support the veterans in Clay County."

Donations to the Vietnam War Memorial may be sent to the Clay County Veterans Service Office, 609 E. National Ave., Room 104, Brazil, Ind., 47834. If writing a check, it is requested to be made out to the "Clay County Veterans Office" with "Vietnam War Memorial" written in the memo section.

For more information, contact Holland at 448-9015.

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This is indeed a good thing you are doing - I wish you much luck. I did not know PSgt Dickerson but I do have ties to two other Clay county residents who lost their lives in the Vietnam war. Thanks for remembering them and keep up the good work. I cannot afford much but I intend to send a donation.

-- Posted by indianamama on Mon, Dec 20, 2010, at 9:41 AM

I have to agree with freedom1. I have never sat on this memorial, but it is built looking like a bench and I've always thought that that was what it was intended to be.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Mon, Dec 20, 2010, at 3:28 PM

I also thought it was there for a place for family to set and reflect.

-- Posted by localgal on Mon, Dec 20, 2010, at 4:15 PM

one solution would be to put a picket fence around it...

-- Posted by no1special on Tue, Dec 21, 2010, at 10:03 AM

Over the weekend, my Dad and I were honored to see the name of my Uncle on the memorial. We are truly appreciative of Mike Holland's dedication to make sure my Uncle was recognized. On behalf of the Dickerson Family, we thank Mike Holland and the Brazil Community.

-- Posted by ChristinaD on Sat, Apr 16, 2011, at 7:35 PM

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