KEYSER - Growing up in Keyser, students become familiar with the names on the honor roll as they are read with a response of “absent” during the annual J. Edward Kelley Awards.

By Ronda Wertman
Tribune Correspondent
KEYSER - Growing up in Keyser, students become familiar with the names on the honor roll as they are read with a response of “absent” during the annual J. Edward Kelley Awards.
For others the monument in front of the courthouse bearing the names of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice is a familiar sight.
But who were these men, what did they look like, what did they do, where did they live? These are all questions that Roy Hardy has been attempting to answer since creating the Facebook group Remembering Mineral County's Fallen Heroes on Jan. 14, 2018.
A graduate of Keyser High School and a veteran serving with the Army in Desert Storm, Hardy has been working diligently to show that these are more than names on a wall; they are lives given in service to others; men with families who continued to live here for generations to come.
“The memorial wall containing the names of 80 soldiers, Marines, Airmen and Sailors that died for our country sits in front of the Mineral County Courthouse in Keyser, West Virginia. While casually scanning the names one day I realized that I know very little about the people behind those names or why they are on that wall,” Hardy said.
“I am trying to attach as many faces and stories to those names as possible.
“For the most part, that wall only contains the names of people from Keyser and the immediate area and does not include individuals from places such as Piedmont, Ridgeley and Wiley Ford,” he said.
“If you see a name with an ** after it, they are not on the wall, but are from Mineral County and should be on the wall,” he explained of the site.
In doing some research, Hardy learned that while “the wall contains 80 names; the state has 157 names as dying during World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam from Mineral County.”
With over 130 members, the Facebook site is public and is starting to see additional posts from others remembering friends and loved ones who made the ultimate sacrifice.
“When you read a book it can take you any place. As I’ve been reading about these heroes, I can picture in my mind some of these places overseas just from war shows that I've seen. My hearts aches for these men and women and the families they left behind. I can only imagine how a parent felt when their son or daughter went off to war. And so many never came back, so many so young,” commented Ellen Hickey Broadwater.
“I hope everyone reads all about these heroes and remembers. Some of those with addresses as where they lived, I have a desire just to walk by some of these homes and just think about them living there and growing up there. These short stories that Roy has put in here are real, I hope we all appreciate their sacrifice,” she added.
“Reading through, stories, addresses of streets where they lived, the jobs they held, military units and specialty, it places a face on these community members. Certainly more than an inscription name on a wall. Thanks Roy, for the research. I am sure those family and friends feel a sense of pride and they are remembered,” said Frank O’Hara.
With so many other names to be inscribed to accurately reflect the sacrifices of Mineral County’s heroes many have asked about another monument, which would be a significant undertaking.
With over 100 already featured on the site and around 165 names on his list, Hardy is determined to make sure that these men are not forgotten as they are remembered on the Facebook site for future generations to learn about.
Those with information about any county residents who gave their lives for their country are urged to share that information and especially any photos with Hardy to be added to the site so more and more can learn of their service and sacrifice.