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Ceremony set to celebrate new honor roll

| Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, 10:25 p.m.
For The Independent-Observer
Standing beside the new honor roll that will be unveiled and rededicated Sunday are brothers and veterans Nick and John Ritz of Old Bethany Marilyn Forbes | For The Independent-Observer

After a year of planning and striving for a proper dedication date, the new Old Bethany honor roll will be rededicated Sunday at 3 p.m. at the honor roll site along the Ruffsdale/Alverton road.

Since the Summer of 2011, Nick, John and Jeff Ritz along with James Keyser have worked to bring the honor roll back to life.

Ken Colbert of Bullskin had worked on several other honor rolls in the area and wanted to find someone who was interested in taking on the Old Bethany project.

“I asked around to see if anyone was interesting and these guys said that they would take it on,” Colbert said.

Nick Ritz said that when they first found out about the honor roll that they were happy to get to work on bringing a new one to the small village that is home to about 80 families.

“We were thrilled to do it,” Nick Ritz said of the honor roll project.

The original honor roll was dedicated on Aug. 15, 1943 and Ritz was able to acquire a copy of the original dedication program that they will replicate as closely as possible for the rededication of the memorial.

“Ken (Colbert) had one he gave us,” John Ritz said.

“The only real difference will be that they had a band from Youngwood play and we have a band from Mt. Pleasant that is playing,” Nick Ritz said.

The dedication ceremony will include a few remarks made by Colbert and other local veterans that will lead up to the unveiling.

“This honor roll looks different then the other ones,” Nick Ritz said of the other WWII honor rolls that have been rededicated over the past two years in Rocktown, Central, Tarrs, Ruffsdale and Alverton. “Plus, we are including all the veterans who have fought in wars after World War II. The other ones don't have names other than World War II veterans and we thought we should include everyone.”

Nick Ritz said that they sent out letters to residents requesting veteran information to include as many veterans as they could that were from Old Bethany.

“They had to have been born here in Old Bethany,” Nick Ritz said of the veterans names that are to be included on the honor roll.

The group expects a few veterans organizations to be present at the dedication and hopes to have support from the community for the unveiling.

“It turned out so nice,” John Ritz said of the honor roll.

“Everyone is invited to come and take part in the ceremony and we hope to see a nice turnout,” Nick Ritz said.

Marilyn Forbes is a freelance writer.