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June 5, 1997

Monahan's Well

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By Jerry Curry

Two nice ladies from the Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary district
that includes Ward County busted me this week.
They showed that I am neither as perfect nor as thorough as I sometimes
think I am. Therefore, I will not make fun of BIll Clinton or MENSA
members for at least three hours.
My transgression was this.
I wrote a column in which I bemoaned the lack of a war memorial to the
songs and daughters of Ward County who have fought in the nation's
various wars, police actions, conflicts and peace missions. I was
adamant. I wanted, I said in that column, a suitable recognizable
memorial somewhere near the courthouse where war memorials are supposed
to be. I am traditional in many ways.
My desire has not changed. We still need a 20-foot high granite War
But my knowledge has.
There are in fact three war memorials in Monahans, four, if you count
the one that is supposed to be in the basement of the courthouse.
I learned all this from the VFW Auxiliary ladies who took me on a short
tour of the county's memorials to its warriors. One is to those who were
in the Persian Gulf. It is at the Post Office about a block and one-half
from where I work daily. Another for World War II is at the courthouse
in the general vicinity of the time capsule. A third is at the cemetery
beside one of the entrances next to the flag pole and is for all Ward
County warriors. It is about knee high and was the generous gift of a
monument company, noted Era Schumpert and Anita Swaney, both of whom are
from Wickett and both of whom are top brass when it comes to VFW
Missus Swaney is the current district president; Missus Schumpert, the
The most interesting part of my impromptu tour of things war memorial
was the report from the Missuses Swaney and Schumpert that there is in
the basement of the Ward County Courthouse a War Memorial to all the
warriors that brings together in one piece what is splintered in the
various locations heretofore described.
This memorial is of wood. It was placed in the basement a few years ago,
they say, and to their knowledge has not seen the light of day since
that time. It is probable, suggests the top brass of the VFW District,
that this piece needs restoration and work and the Monahans VFW
Auxiliary would be willing to do this.
I then told them I would find their war memorial, no matter where it may
reside in the courthouse basement. I told them I would contact the
appropriate county officials and we would rescue this piece from the
basement of the courthouse, if it still is there. I said county
officials would be happy to deliver this work to the VFW quarters
without me filing an open records request asking for their expense
Well I called County Judge Sam G. Massey, who is more than willing to
produce said war memorial from the basement, except Sam Massey is not
aware of its existence down there in the basement.
He acknowledges though it might be there.
The courthouse has a big basement and there are many treasures ti
unearth if we put our minds to it.
He told me I had all the permissions needed to brave the courthouse
basement in search of the war memorial and bring it back to the light of
the day. I have not had time this week (a little matter of personnel
changes at the school district) but I promise Missuses Schumpert and Missus Swaney I will be in that basement next week searching.

Letter from the editor

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By Steve Patterson

To borrow a quote from that
master of military procedure, Gomer
Pyle; "Shame, shame, shame!"
I direct this criticism to all you
folks who thought you had
something better to do than attend
last Saturday's 10th Anniversary at
the Million Barrel Museum.
Yes, there was a little rain that
morning, but the clouds cleared away
in plenty of time for the festivities.
There were activities for children of
all ages and plenty of entertainment.
Oh, did I mention food? I was out-machoed by Frank Heslin. We both
ordered chili-cheese-dogs, but Frank,
in a low, rumbling voice, said, "put
some of those jalepenos on mine."
Those of us who did attend had a
great time celebrating a unique place
that seems to be appreciated more by
those who visit here than by those
who live here.
That's a real shame.
As one of my favorite anonymous
sources said, "I guess some of the
people here are soooo sweet, they
were scared that if they got a little
rain on em, they would melt like
I salute the organizers of the event
and their sponsors for putting in the
time and effort on an exercise of
civic pride.

Speaking of civic pride, I'm sure
the next few weeks may bring
attention of outside news media to
Monahans due to the head football
coach situation.
How we handle this attention and
how we deal with the controversy at
hand will determine how Monahans
is viewed by that unfortunate world
which does not know the pleasures of
living here.
Yes, I'm sure there are some very
passionate opinions to be aired
concerning the future of the MHS
athletic program. However, having
said that, let me urge each and every
citizen to temper their remarks.
This town may need civil discourse
concerning this matter, but it doesn't
need the image of a divided town.
We may have no choice about
receiving the scrutiny of the outside
media, but we do have a choice in
what we say and how we say it.
Yes, history and tradition dictate
that football is an important aspect of
this little town's life, but no more so
than academics and civic pride.
You may remember the story
several months ago about the young
girl in the wheelchair who wanted
the right to try out for cheerleader at
a West Texas High School. The
national media focused on one side
of the story and gave - in my opinion
- an unfair portrayal of an otherwise
decent little town. I doubt this story
will garner the same interest, but you
can never tell.
My unsolicited advice is, "Don't
speak in anger about your

A couple of quick apologies are in
order. The Monahans News had a
roll of film ruined in the processing
during this past week, and thus the
Head Start Graduation and the
Chamber of Commerce Honorary
Membership photographs were lost
forever... unless, we can reschedule
something else. We are also still
searching for two photographs of
check presentations made by

My request for Weekend Getaways
has resulted in a response from you,
our readers, which can only be
described as underwhelming.
Come'on now, I'm sure there are
some great spots within a few hours
drive of Monahans where we can go
to relax if you just quit being so
LAST SUNDAY: We could start
our own four-year university with
those 27 tons of books!

Copyright 1997 by Ward Newspapers, Inc.
107 W. Second St., Monahans TX 79756
Phone 915-943-4313, FAX 915-943-4314

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