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January 6, 2011


(Left to right) Kerry Penley, Carmie Cook, Cindy Travis, Steve Mains, Dianne HuffmanA Catawba County veteran who had a hand in keeping America safe, through his military service as World War II came to an end, and four who have extended a helping hand to all veterans in Catawba County will literally “have a hand” in the new North Carolina Veterans Park scheduled to open later this year.

The park is scheduled to open on July 4, 2011 in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Soil from all 100 counties will be included in the park and bronze casts of hands of veterans from each county will be displayed in a special public art feature at the park.

“Carmie C. Cook, who served in the United States Army from July 22, 1944 to July 10, 1946 and who left the service with the rank of Private First Class, has been selected to represent Catawba County,” said Cindy S. Travis, the County’s Veterans Service Officer. “Mr. Cook has been a resident of Catawba County for 64 years. He received a Purple Heart in 1945 for an injury sustained in World War II.”

Artist Diane Hughes traveled to Catawba County in November 2010 to mold Mr. Cook’s right hand, the hand he raised when taking the Oath of Service. At the same time, four supporters of veterans had their hands molded for a display that will indicate how important support from the community is to every veteran.

Those chosen to represent supporters of veterans were, as seen in the photograph above from left to right, Kerry Penley, grandson of Carmie Cook; Mr. Cook; Cindy S. Travis, Catawba County Veterans Service Officer; Steve Mains, retired Veterans Service Officer for the North Carolina Division of Veterans Affairs; and Dianne Huffman, a veterans supporter and activist.

The North Carolinas Veterans Park is intended to be a tribute to all of North Carolina’s veterans. Those honored in the park may be from any branch of the service: Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard or Marine Corps. The veteran could be a man or woman, of any rank, having served at any time in America’s recent history, from World War II to the current actions in Afghanistan or Iraq.