Photo of veterans garners state award for Radford Parks and Recreation

This photo of veterans at Radford’s July Fourth “Spirit of America” Celebration has earned the city a state award.

RADFORD – Radford Parks and Recreation recently received an award at the 64th Annual Conference of the Virginia Recreation and Park Society in the Snapshot Moment (population 25,000 and under) category for its “More than a name on the Wall” photo.

The photo, taken by Don Lyons, is of veterans in front of the Bisset Park Gazebo at the July Fourth “Spirit of America” Celebration.

More than 500 delegates from around the state gathered last week at the conference, held in Tysons Corner, Virginia. Highlighting each year’s conference is a formal presentation of awards. The state-wide program “honors individuals, departments and organizations throughout Virginia who have demonstrated excellence in any of several areas during the previous year, with 115 applications received vying for awards in 14 different categories this year.

Radford Parks and Recreation Director Ken Goodyear said the award is a great honor.

“The Radford July 4th event is called the “Spirit of America Celebration” as we honor our nations’ freedom,” said Goodyear. “The event is structured around honoring the veterans who served our country and allow us to be a nation with freedom and liberty.”

“More than 100 veterans proudly come up to the stage with be with Jimmy as he sings the”More than a Name on the Wall” song,” stated Jenni Wilder, public information coordinator for the City of Radford. “Friends and families in the crowd bring them small American flags to hold and wave during the song. The veterans stand proud knowing that they made it possible to live in a free country.”

US Army Specialist and Junior Vice Commander of the VFW776 Charlie Burton describes the tribute as a powerful statement.

“While Mr. Fortune delivers this song, it is a powerful statement that resonates through each of us, for past memories of faraway places and the times we shared,” said Burton. “Memories to those we have lost, both that we knew and didn’t know, stand with us all and listen to the message.”

Radford City Manager David Ridpath said the award exemplifies the American Spirit of the July Fourth celebration.

“The July Fourth holiday is dedicated to celebrating the birth of the United States as an independent nation,”said Ridpath. “The nation comes together in a celebration of independence, patriotism, and freedom. In Radford, we view the fourth as a time to celebrate the “Spirit of America” and to honor the sacrifices of veterans.”


-Heather Bell