TROY — Many members of Jeff Schlarman’s family have heard the call of duty to serve their country.
Schlarman, a 1992 Troy High School graduate, answered when he heard to the call of duty to honor all those who have served — and do serve — their country.
This fall, Troy-Miami County Public Library Director Rachelle Miller was looking for someone to help construct a Veterans Memorial on the north side of the library. When Schlarman found out, he didn’t hesitate.
“Rachelle Miller had posted something on Facebook and (Schlarman’s wife) Missy showed it to me; I volunteered and this is what arrived from it,” Schlarman said as he gestured towared the memorial, which includes a flag pole, granite-style bench and stone markers honoring the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard and Merchant Marines.
Schlarman said his deep family ties to the military is what led him to volunteer for the project, which took roughly 30-40 hours of his own time. He used a backhoe to dig out the hole, then did all the concrete and stone work himself.
“This was a way for me to honor my grandpa, my dad, my uncles, my in-laws and any future relatives I have who may serve in the military,” he said.
Schlarman has worked in the construction business since graduating from high school 24 years ago. For the past 10 years, he’s worked for Shook Construction. He currently serves as a project superintedent. He was able to use his contacts within the construction industry to get most all of the materials — including their delivery — and equipment for free.
“I called some people I knew and when they heard what I was working on, they were happy to help out,” he said.
The Veterans Memorial supporters included: The Troy Foundation for the flag pole and landscaping; Shook Construction for concrete work and materials; Ernst Concrete, Hageman Trucking, Marietta Martin Materials for concrete, gravel and hauling; Howard Cheney, Rich Egbert, Mitchell Fogle, Lora and Stephen Larck, Patty Rose, Miami Valley Veterans Museum, Snyder Brick and Block, for the bench, pavers, and monetary support; Greentech Lawn and Irrigation for landscaping; and flags donated in memory of Bobby Houser.
“I think it turned out pretty nice,” Schlarman said.
Schlarman said he’s happy to have volunteered to be a part of what will be a lasting legacy at the library.
“That’s something Missy and I talked about,” he said. “Hopefully, someday we’ll be able to bring our grandkids to the library and tell them, ‘Grandpa made that.’ That would be pretty cool.”
Contact David Fong at email@example.com; follow him on Twitter @thefong