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August 27, 2005

"You need to do a 'Northwest Corner' about Kenny Coldiron and Dave Matthews." That was one of the greetings I received the other day when Sam Henderson, Bob Kasper and Carl Webb visited the local Rotary Club. I understood what Mr. Kasper was telling me. Kenny and Dave, both now deceased, have been the subjects of several columns, but not nearly enough has been written concerning their military careers. They were unique, to say the least, and both merit a closer look than they've had so far.

Both of those guys were leaders in this community, and the loss they left with us has never been adequately filled. Bob and other Army veterans have done their best, but there is still much more to say. Part of the Rotary program that day had to do with the memorial being erected on the courthouse square to honor Perry area veterans who served in the Korean war and beyond. You probably remember when Kenny was a first sergeant in the European campaign during WWII, and Dave became the primary officer in the Oklahoma National Guard campaign which followed that other engagement. And they were just two representatives of the citizen-soldier army that answered the call to arms when that was necessary.

The point is, this area contributed some of its best men and equipment to the armed forces when the U.S. needed them, and people like Kenny Coldiron and Dave Matthews made that a reality. Now it is being suggested that we return the favor by putting our collective shoulder to the effort to make the courthouse park memorial a reality.

If Kenny Coldiron or Dave Matthews were still with us, you know how they would become leaders in this effort. In their absence, we can do no less. Call Sam, Bob or any of the other veterans and pledge what you can. We need to make this memorial a reality.