Two Youngstown natives and Navy veterans are building a moving wall to honor veterans from the Mahoning Valley who served in the Vietnam War.
The Mahoning Valley Wall of Honor, which will bear the name of every serviceman from Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties who died or are listed as missing in action in the Vietnam War as well as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, will be unveiled at 11 a.m. Saturday at a dedication ceremony at the Canfield Fairgrounds.
It also will be placed in the Howland Fourth of July Parade on Wednesday, with American Legion Post 700 as the sponsor.
Dave Luther, a local pastor, shows some on the names on the Mahoning Valley Wall of Honor, which will be unveiled Saturday at the Canfield Fairgrounds. Tribune Chronicle photos / Joe Gorman
Pastor Dave Luther of Christ Memorial Church, who served in the Navy for four years, said the wall is being unveiled at a military appreciation event by a group of area churches .
Luther and Dan Nagy of Niles, who also served in the Navy during the Vietnam War, said they decided to create the wall to educate people on the true cost of war and how many people - especially young people - lost their lives in war.
''I want them to know these are the real heroes of the Mahoning Valley,'' Luther said.
To view or help with the wall:
View it 11 a.m. Saturday at the Canfield Fairgrounds
View it at the Howland Fourth of July Parade at 10 a.m. Wednesday
To donate, send checks to Christian Life Center, 6101 S. Raccoon Road, Canfield 44406. Write ''Wall'' in the memo field
For Nagy, the wall is personal because he was friends with one of the men whose name is on it: Kenneth J. Nervie, who grew up on the South Side of Youngstown with Nagy, was killed in Vietnam at the age of 21, one of 100 Mahoning County residents to die in the war.
''It's hard,'' he said of putting Nervie's name on the wall. Nervie graduated from Youngstown State University and was in the Reserve Officers Training Corps there. He was in country only two and a half weeks when he was killed, Nagy said.
''He was a good Catholic and a good kid,'' Nagy said.
Nagy has been using the BP Shirt Shop in Niles, where he works, as he has worked on the wall. He said he has put in about 50 hours for the wall so far, a lot of that being research on the names.
He has been working on the wall for about two and a half weeks, Nagy said. He said he discovered during his research that two soldiers from Columbiana County were recipients of the military's highest award during the Vietnam War - the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Those soldiers are Ralph Dias, a Marine who died at 19 in 1969, and Melvin Newlin, also a Marine, who was killed at 18 when he won the medal on July 4, 1967.
''This is bigger than us,'' Luther said. ''We feel the tri-county area needs to know the real heroes.''
Luther and Nagy said there are plans in the future to add the names of vets from Korea who died during the Korean War and to have the wall travel to other events in the area.