CONYERS — Two years and seven months after two of the Walk of Heroes Veterans War Memorial statues and globe were stolen, everything is back where it should be. On July 6, members of the Walk of Heroes Board of Directors unveiled the restored bronze centerpiece of five soldiers holding up a globe, called “Freedom Watch.”

The Walk of Heroes was vandalized Dec. 15, 2017 when thieves broke into the memorial at Black Shoals Park and pulled down two of the five statues. The two statues and globe were loaded onto a trailer, along with bronze plaques from elsewhere at the memorial, and driven away.

Quick work by investigators of the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office resulted in the arrest of three suspects two weeks later, with parts of the stolen items being recovered. The suspects were sentenced to jail in 2018 and 2019.

Almost immediately after the vandalism, the Walk of Heroes began a fundraising effort to raise the money needed to recast the centerpiece, with numerous organizations and hundreds of individuals making donations to the cause.

Following the unveiling Monday, Walk of Heroes President Tommy Clack said it took steadfast determination to get the memorial back to where it is today.

“I think it is important for the community to understand that for the board and everybody that supported us, it has been our endeavor since Dec. 15, 2017 to make this a reality,” Clack said. “It has taken this long to get here, but it’s been a steadfast stay-the-course endeavor by everybody involved, including the community supporting us and the board making actions happen, the right people at the right time to put these things up and make it happen. It’s just been a phenomenal community and great team effort.”

Clack urged the community to continue to support the Walk of Heroes Veterans War Memorial and its programs.

“This memorial is now back to whole,” he said. “This memorial goes back to the groundbreaking in October 2001. This is a very honorable memorial with a great historical perspective in terms of pavers of those who served and the programs we hold out here.

“On behalf of the board of directors, we seek your continued support to help this memorial stay maintained. Please come out and visit us.”

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Senior Reporter

Born and raised in Decatur, Ga. Graduated from Shorter College in Rome, Ga. in 1979 with B.A. in Communications. Worked in community newspapers for 26 years. Started at Rockdale Citizen/Newton Citizen in January 2016.

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