Words by Jonathan Hooper

Photography by Shad Ramsey Photography

“Remembrance and Honor”

We find heroes in nearly every corner of the world and from every age of history: ancient Greek mythology, a first century mathematician, (let’s skip ahead here), Queen Maeve, Abraham Lincoln, Helen Keller, Wright Brothers, Mahatma Gandhi, Lassie the Collie, Rosa Parks, Roger Staubach, and even a David Bowie song.

But none reverberate in our hearts and minds quite as richly as the everyday citizens who stand up, step forward, and are willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice. It is for these men and women that the Granbury Memorial Lane exists. The cornerstone of the Granbury Memorial Lane is the existing Jim Burks Firefighters Memorial Park is situated along the Hike & Bike Trail just a short walk from downtown Granbury. It is also accessible by North Travis Street.

Established in 2007, it is special place dedicated to the firefighters lost in the line of duty. A unique firetruck playground greets the walkers and riders along the trail. Picnic tables in both sun and shade beckon nearby, providing not only a short respite for those on the trail, but a destination for everyone to visit. Soon, the Jim Burks Firefighter Memorial Park will be joined by two new additions to complete the newly-established Memorial Lane honoring Law

Enforcement and Military. “We need more of these”

The idea for the Granbury Memorial Lane came from long-time Granbury resident Julia Pannell, who was also a driving force behind the establishment of the original park in 2007. Returning home from a trip to Branson in late December 2015, she realized that it seems like every street corner in Branson had some sort of recognition of our heroes. She decided to take action, and created the idea of expanding the existing park to include tributes to additional heroes. “They do so much for us,” said Julia. “We need more of these in Granbury. So I took the idea to the Parks Department, then to the City Council, and a few other people. Everyone was so supportive, and here we are. This is a one of a kind space, honoring all three entities. It’s for ALL of those who have served in any capacity. I am so excited!”

Julia became the Project Chair, and was joined on the committee by City of Granbury Parks Manager Aaron McLain, Assistant City Manager Sheri Campbell-Husband, Sheriff’s Department Chaplain Doug Pruitt, and Artist Mike Scovel. After they came up with an overall design, led by Aaron McLain as the Project Manager, they turned it over to local architect Terry Cone and engineer Chris Hayes to make the literal nuts and bolts– and rocks and stones– fit into the space.… for our heroes.

Past. Present. Future.

Nationally acclaimed Texas artist Mike Scovel has been commissioned to produce two new life-size sculptures for the park: “Tears For The Fallen” depicts a young girl bowing her head and holding a flag honoring Law Enforcement; and “Homage To A Compatriot” with a service dog bowing before a service cross in respect for our fallen military member.

Scovel’s work has been featured in publications as diverse as Saturday Evening Post and Western Horseman. His works honoring veterans and the military are displayed across the country, along with numerous Christian sculptures. “This project is especially meaningful to me because I have wanted to sculpt a service dog for a long time. Several of my other installations include a little boy honoring the fallen, so I welcomed the chance to sculpt a little girl for this one,” said the artist. More on the art of Mike Scovel, including his sculptures for the Granbury Memorial Park, may be found at mikescovel.com.

There will be signs constructed to indicate that you are entering a special place. “It’s like you are on sacred ground,” says Pannell. “We want people to know that this is how our community honors those who serve.” The park will also include three special stones donated by committee member Doug Pruitt specifically honoring the Sheriff’s Department.

The Granbury Memorial Lane will be funded completely from public donations. After just six months of fundraising efforts, nearly 70% of the funds have been acquired.

“We are pleased that this will be paid for by the people who will actually come to visit, and not some far-away government office. Everyone will be able to take ownership of the park. It belongs to everyone. You can take your children and grandchildren there to learn, and to talk about what it really means. And it is the only park like this in the country.”

The Heroes Red Hot Concert is scheduled for May 26 and will be held at the Granbury Resort Conference Center in conjunction with Cruisin’ Granbury and the local Memorial Day activities. Performers will include several local musicians

Tickets for the Heroes Red Hot Concert are available online. Throughout the year, additional benefit events will at local restaurants.

For more information about how individuals and groups can become involved in the Granbury Memorial Lane, please go to granburymemoriallane.com. The green memorial benches are already sold out, but several more items are still available.

They also accept donations.

Take a short a walk, or ride your bike down the Hike & Bike Trail. Sit in the shade of a towering oak tree, or enjoy the sunshine sitting on a bench in the park. Bring a picnic lunch to share with others. Watch your grandchildren play on the firetruck playground. Read the bronze plaque attached to the rock walls honoring and remembering the heroes and victims of September 11, 2001. Consider what those who serve have done for this community, and communities like this all over the country. But mostly, just take a moment in time, and remember our heroes.

After all, this is how our community honors those who serve.

Heroes lost and fallen

Heroes and courage

Heroes saving drowning children

Heroes rescuing animals

Heroes on the battlefield

Heroes from days of yore