Veterans Park Marks Five Generations of Work in Rector
Officially dedicated in 2011, Rector Veterans Memorial Park serves as a constant reminder of the countless men and women who have risked their lives to represent not only their communities, but all of America in the United State military.
In the earliest stages of its planning, reaching back nearly a decade, the park was envisioned as a beautiful showing of gratitude. Today, thanks to the efforts of volunteer organizers, sponsors and talented crafters, the vision is crystal clear and perhaps more beautiful than any could have imagined.
Much of the park's beauty can be found in its unique stonework.
Buddy McBride of the Oran McBride Stone Company in Batesville was contracted for the park's remarkable decorative stonework. McBride, who operates the company named after his grandfather, noted five generations of McBrides have done stonework in Rector following the efforts at Veterans Memorial Park.
"You could say we have a family history here," McBride said. "That's one of the reasons this project was so special to us. My grandfather worked here in the 1930s and 1940s. Around 1953 and 1954, my dad did a lot of (stonework for) homes here in Rector. When we worked on the park here, my son and grandsons were here, and that made five generations who worked in Rector."
Working on a project to honor veterans, McBride recommended subtle, yet striking stones. Beautiful marble taken from Batesville has been crafted to create structures which hold the park's signature statue and plaques honoring local veterans and the sponsors who made the memorial possible. This stone is of the same vein as what was used in the Arkansas Capitol building and several buildings on the UA campus. Sandstone from Marcella was used in crafting the park's stage. This stone is a smoother stone, lending a refined, elegant look to the stage and serving as a base for future additions. Much of the park features sandstone mined from Batesville. While a little rough, this stone features a greater depth of colors, harvesting a range of golden, tan, brown and red colorations to make the stonework truly stand out to visitors.
"I'm impressed with this park," McBride said. "Everyone involved has worked very hard to make this a reality. When you work on a project like this, as a contractor, it's a project that has a place in your heart."
Gen. George Barker, a native of Rector who has been involved with the project since its earliest conception, spoke highly of McBride's stonework.
"When people look at this park, they ask, 'Where did you get that stone?' We are very pleased with the work Buddy and his crew has done here. The quality is second-to-none."
Part of the beauty of the park is the ongoing efforts to add to its features. The park committee will be working with McBride to create additional features for the monument in the future.
"I enjoy working in Rector and look forward to being back here," McBride said. "I've enjoyed the work we've done here (at the park) and there are other plans we're working on for this project."