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. Judge tosses life sentences for D.C. sniper Lee Boyd Malvo

    Nation

    McLEAN, Va. — A federal judge on Friday tossed out two life sentences for one of Virginia's most notorious criminals, sniper Lee Boyd Malvo, and ordered Virginia courts to hold new sentencing hearings.

    A federal judge has tossed out two life sentences for D.C. sniper shooter Lee Boyd Malvo. [Associated Press, 2004]
  2. Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter's national security adviser, dies

    News

    Zbigniew Brzezinski, the hawkish strategic theorist who was national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter in the tumultuous years of the Iran hostage crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the late 1970s, died on Friday at a hospital in Virginia. He was 89.

    Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, participates in Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on March 5, 2009, in Washington, D.C. [Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]
  3. USF eliminated by UCF in AAC baseball; Florida, FSU, Miami win

    Colleges

    CLEARWATER — Roughly 16 hours after a ninth-inning collapse against East Carolina in the American Athletic Conference's double-elimination baseball tournament, USF returned to Spectrum Field presumably set for a reboot.

    It simply got booted instead.

    ’NOLES win: Tyler Holton gets a hug from Drew Carlton after his strong eight innings help Florida State beat Louisville.
  4. Pinellas licensing board executive director settled hundreds of cases without getting his board's approval

    Local Government

    By Mark Puente

    Times Staff Writer

    Eleanor Morrison complained to the Pinellas licensing board in 2015 that her contractor installed crooked walls and windows and poured too much concrete for her carport.

    Eleanor Morrison poses at her home in Treasure Island, 5/26/17. Morrison filed a complaint with the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board and later learned that its former Executive Director, Rodney Fischer, dismissed the case in a private meeting with the contractor.
  5. Report: Kusher wanted secret communications channel with Kremlin

    World

    Jared Kushner and Russia's ambassador to Washington discussed the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between Donald Trump's transition team and the Kremlin, using Russian diplomatic facilities in an apparent move to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring, U.S. …

    The name of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's White House senior adviser, has come up as part of the Russia investigation. [Associated Press]