Commissioners to replace Medal of Honor plaqueWritten by Sarah Ottney | Managing Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
After it came to light that two Medal of Honor recipients had been inadvertently omitted from a Lucas County Courthouse plaque listing honorees with local ties, plans are under way to replace the plaque.
The Lucas County Commissioners recently agreed it would be appropriate to replace the plaque, said Commissioner Carol Contrada. Other options considered included modifying the current plaque or installing a second plaque next to the first, she said.
“We cannot honor our veterans often enough and the people who have given their service to our community — given their lives to our country in many cases — deserve to be honored and remembered by their communities and by the county,” Contrada said. “This is completely the right thing to do. It is the right thing for all of us to do to remember.”
The current plaque, located on the second floor of the Lucas County Courthouse, was dedicated in 2003 during Ohio’s bicentennial and lists 16 names.
The two missing names — Civil War veteran Christian Albert, who died and is buried in Toledo, and World War II veteran Hulon Whittington, who died in Toledo — were brought to the attention of the commissioners in 2011 by Nick Haupricht. Haupricht is chairman of Remembrance Inc., a local group dedicated to building and refurbishing war memorials in Northwest Ohio.
Haupricht also lobbied for removing the name of Civil War veteran Charles Thompson, who was born in Wood County and appears to have had no connection to Lucas County.
“He is a passionate historian and researcher,” Contrada said of Haupricht. “He brought it to our attention that there were people missing and that someone was on the plaque that shouldn’t be and we immediately tried to figure out what we could do.”
Haupricht, a Vietnam War veteran, said he feels strongly about making sure memorials are accurate and all veterans are honored.
“I’m just trying to get the memorial corrected so our fallen comrades have their names somewhere,” Haupricht said. “It’s important to get things right.”
The historical research process was lengthy, but vital, Contrada said.
“It was frankly surprising that we had something of such permanence that missed two winners,” she said. “We decided the best thing to do was make it right. The historical work was really important. We had to doublecheck names, births, burials, places of enlistment. My opinion is it’s better to be right than fast.”
Contrada said there was some hesitation about removing Thompson’s name, particularly out of concern he would not be honored anywhere else. At the time, Wood County did not have a Medal of Honor memorial. In November, Wood County dedicated a Medal of Honor memorial that includes Thompson’s name, so the commissioners now feel comfortable removing his name from Lucas County’s plaque, Contrada said.
“We don’t know how Charles Thompson ended up on the Lucas County plaque except that, the farther back in time you go, the more difficult it is to have complete and accurate records,” Contrada said. “But now he is honored in the appropriate geographic location and we can move forward.”
The new plaque will list 17 Medal of Honor recipients who served from the Civil War to World War II who were born in, livedin , entered service in, died in or were buried in Lucas County.
The plaque will be made of bronze and cast by Toledo-based Architectural Arts. It will be paid for by the Lucas County Commissioners miscellaneous fund, Contrada said. The new plaque is expected to cost about $3,800.
“We’re very, very enthusiastic about this project,” said Contrada, who estimated the plaque would take three to four weeks to complete once ordered. “I’m looking forward to it being completed and having the record of some really great people from Lucas County corrected.”
Haupricht said he was hoping the new plaque would include more description of the actions leading to each recipient’s Medal of Honor. Contrada said that option was considered, but adding so much text made the metal plaque difficult to read. The commissioners instead plan to display supplementary information about the honorees in a matted frame near the plaque.
“That’s something Fulton County did, which is really cool, and that’s what we plan to do here,” Contrada said. “That way, if people have time and want to linger, they can read fairly detailed descriptions of the recipients. It really is very interesting and I think honors these gentlemen even more.”
Haupricht also said Remembrance Inc. is working on a plan to build a military memorial park in Lucas County that would include memorials for each war. The location will be chosen at a later date from among interested communities, he said.
“That’s down the road, but something we’d like to do,” Haupricht said.