Veterans’ photo wall pays tribute to those who served
By DANIELLE ANDERSON | The News-Journal | Published: May 20, 2020
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Tribune News Service) — Brenda Rosa will walk right up and point out their pictures.
Among hundreds of photos of veterans and active duty service members hanging on the wall, some dating to World War I, she knows right where to find her son, disabled U.S. Army veteran Kenneth L. Rosa, and her daughter, Yailaris Garcia, who is on active duty with the U.S. Air Force.
It's not just a mother's pride in her voice but one of her pride in her children's service to their county.
She's even prouder to work in a place that shares the respect for those who serve. Rose is an elections assistant at the Flagler County Supervisor of Elections Office, where the wall is located.
Rosa's children are part of something bigger than themselves as members of the United States military.
"I'm very proud of my son for what he's done for our country and my daughter, who's still active military," said Rosa. "It's a very emotional thing to see how people care for their country, and it makes me feel important too, to be able to do something to be part of what's happening in our country."
Flagler County Supervisor of Elections Kaiti Lenhart, whose own father served in the Army during the Vietnam War and has a place on the wall alongside so many others, says it is important to recognize their service.
While she didn't create the wall, its inception harkens back to the days of former SOE Peggy Rae Border. Lenhart has had a hand in growing the Veterans' Wall since becoming Flagler's elections chief in 2017.
As a full-fledged program, elections office staff scan, mount and display submitted photos at no cost and manage the social media weekly veteran spotlight to share with the community.
"There are a lot more veterans in our community and they need to get their photos in here so that we can honor them and their service," said Lenhart. "What we have now is good representation and I'm very proud of it."
Lenhart says she hears from family members who stop in to see their relatives in a place of honor, and it touches her heart when family members surprise a veteran with recognition through the program.
"People come in all of the time and take a picture of the picture on the wall or they'll bring in the veteran themselves and it's like a surprise to them," she said. "It's great and I really love it. This is the foundation of how and why we can really vote."
Each photo is a story.
Reading through the hundreds of names, ranks and service dates, recognizable names appear, as those who have gone on to additional public service roles are revealed.
From Billy Wadsworth, former Circuit Court Judge and Florida State Representative, to long-serving Flagler County Commissioner George Hanns, and current Palm Coast City Councilman Jack Howell, Flagler County's first Veteran of the Year in 2014, it's a snapshot of the history of service not to be forgotten as Memorial Day approaches.
"The picture puts a face to those who were willing to give all, if necessary," said Howell.