KEYSER - “Today is a great day for the City of Keyser. It is a day we as a city can give back to a hero.”

By Liz Beavers
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - “Today is a great day for the City of Keyser. It is a day we as a city can give back to a hero.”
With those words, Keyser mayor Damon Tillman opened the short ceremony on a brisk Friday afternoon to rename the city’s South End Park as Brooks Park in honor of 96-year-old Clifton E. Brooks Sr.
Brooks, a veteran of World War II, was a member of the famed Tuskegee Airmen, a group of African-American pilots and other Army Air Corps soldiers who played an integral part in the second World War.
“Finally we get to give back to somebody who is so deserving,” Tillman said.
T.J. Coleman of the Aubrey Stewart Project, who is spearheading the process of having a sign made in Brooks’ honor to be placed at the end of Memorial Bridge, also spoke and said the sign will serve as a reminder that Keyser is the home of West Virginia’s last living Tuskegee Airman.
“Mr. Brooks, when everyone comes across that bridge, it will be your face they see,” Coleman told the honoree.
Coleman told the crowd that Brooks, although not one of the pilots in the company, played an integral part in coding messages going to and from the war.
“All the men of Tuskegee were pioneers … they assisted in breaking down the walls of segregation,” he said.
“Thank you, Mr. Brooks, for the light you continue to shine on all generations,” Coleman said. “We stand on the shoulders of your example and we stand in the brightness of your light.”
Some members of Brooks’ family also spoke briefly, recalling the days that they played in the South End Park while growing up.
“I’m proud of you Dad, and I’m proud of this park,” Rick Brooks said.
A sign welcoming everyone to Brooks Park was unveiled during the ceremony, and Tillman said a bronze plaque with Brooks’ picture on it and some information about the Tuskegee Airmen will soon be erected beside it.