Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Brooksville Wal-Mart restores Wall of Honor

The new Wall of Honor photo tribute at the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Brooksville is much smaller than the original and is dedicated to current veterans.

The new Wall of Honor photo tribute at the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Brooksville is much smaller than the original and is dedicated to current veterans.

BROOKSVILLE — At a time when American men and women are fighting and dying in two wars, banishing a years-old community photo tribute to military personnel may not be the wisest corporate decision.

Especially in Hernando County, with a significant population of military veterans, many of whom are customers.

This may explain why the retail giant Wal-Mart has relented and allowed a photo display to return to the front of its supercenter on Broad Street.

The Wall of Honor, begun in 2003 by store workers to show support for the troops, was removed in recent weeks as the store underwent a full-blown makeover as part of Wal-Mart's Project Impact initiative.

Store manager Steve Smith said earlier this month that the 5- by 15-foot display "was not part of the fresh, clean, uncluttered look'' of the remodeling effort and "did not fit into the schematic of the new design.''

Predictably, that move did not sit well with some of the 24,055 military veterans in this county of 171,689 people.

Within days of an Oct. 1 story in the St. Petersburg Times about the board's removal, the complaints started coming in and the corporate wheels began turning.

Now, the pictures are back, albeit in a limited fashion.

The original Wall of Honor contained photos of veterans dating to World War II. The new display, which has much less space, is being dedicated to newly minted veterans.

What led to Wal-Mart's change of heart is anyone's guess. Smith, the manager, declined to discuss the details and referred questions to the company's headquarters in Bentonville, Ark.

Repeated calls for comment yielded no responses.

To one Hernando County veteran, the answer is obvious.

"With the economy the way it is, they don't want to lose customers,'' said John Stenger of Brooksville, a 72-year-old veteran of the Vietnam War.

"I can't understand why they would want to take on veterans organizations and irate mothers, fathers, uncles and aunts,'' said Stenger, adding that he had notified members of three veterans groups he belongs to here and in New Jersey.

"I'd say the complaints got their attention,'' he said.

Bringing back the photos, even in a smaller display, is "a terrific move on their part,'' he said. "Anything is better than nothing.''

The photo board, which is now protected by a glass case, will be overseen by employees of the store's Vision Center, Smith said.

"Wal-Mart has always been committed to work with veterans organizations in many ways,'' Smith said. "We're eager to help.''

Ironically, the October edition of a Wal-Mart employees' magazine, WalmartWorld, features a story and photos of a massive veterans picture display in a store in Palatka.

That store's year-round Wall of Honor holds hundreds of photos of veterans and "is a focal point for the community,'' according to manager Weldon Taylor, an Army veteran of the Vietnam War whose photo is on the wall.

The story notes that such displays are part of the company's efforts to honor military personnel during the month leading up to Veterans Day.

Whether the display at the Brooksville store will be allowed to remain past the holiday is unknown.

Greg Hamilton can be reached at hamilton@sptimes.com or at (352) 754-6113.

Brooksville Wal-Mart restores Wall of Honor 10/25/09 [Last modified: Monday, October 26, 2009 1:03am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Encounters: Trial by storm for a rookie principal

    K12

    DUNEDIN — When he nodded off to sleep, the hallway lights outside Michael Vasallo's office were on, so the sudden darkness woke him.

    The glow of his desk phone dimmed.

    Michael Vasallo, right, the first-year principal at Dunedin Highland Middle School, talks with the school's head plant operator Clint Case near the back-up generator on campus. The generator failed just as Hurricane Irma passed through Pinellas County, making for a stressful night. The experience made Vasallo long to return to his regular job, educating middle schoolers. [COLEEN WRIGHT   |   Times]


  2. Who is in charge during a hurricane? Hillsborough County and Tampa still can't agree

    Hurricanes

    TAMPA — Who has the authority to order an evacuation during a hurricane?

    Mayor Bob Buckhorn says he has evacuation authority.
  3. Gators rally past Kentucky, streak hits 31

    Blogs

    LEXINGTON, Ky. — For the second week in a row, Florida found itself storming the field in a game that came down to the last second. A 57-yard field-goal attempt by Kentucky kicker Austin MacGinnis came just a few feet short of making history and snapping a 30-year losing streak, as the No. 20 Gators escaped a …

    Florida wide receiver Brandon Powell (4) scores a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Kentucky, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Lexington, Ky.
  4. Pen makes it way too interesting as Rays hang on for 9-6 win

    Blogs

    A couple of home runs provided the news pegs of the night for the Rays, but it was more topical to talk about what nearly happened as they hung on for a 9-6 win over the Orioles.

    Lucas Duda's three-run homer in the third inning was the Rays' record-breaking 217th of the season, as well as his …

    Lucas Duda's three-run homer in the third inning was the Rays' record-breaking 217th of the season.
  5. An attempt to project what Rays will look like in 2018

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — We know what the Rays look like this year: a team that had enough talent but too many flaws, in construction and performance, and in the next few days will be officially eliminated from a wild-card race it had a chance to win but let slip away.

    Adeiny Hechavarria, high-fiving Lucas Duda, seems likely to be brought back.