WVC Mayor wants to build memorial hall to share veterans’ stories

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah -- The West Valley City Mayor has been building support for a new Utah Veterans Memorial Hall that is unlike any memorial veterans have seen in Utah.

“It just kind of grew on me; I'm a veteran,” said West Valley City Mayor Ron Bigelow.

Mayor Bigelow has been working for 18 months to gain support for the center that will eventually grow into a library featuring the stories of veterans and their families.

“I wanted to record stories, because the war, everyone talks about the history, the fights, but war is about people," Bigelow said. "It's about individuals who go and form extraordinarily unique circumstances, and those stories must be preserved.”

At a Veterans Day ceremony at the University of Utah, Fox 13 News spoke with veterans about the mayor’s plan.

“I think that would be wonderful,” said Ora Mae Hyatt, an Army Veteran who served in WWII. “You like to talk to another veteran who has a story to tell."

And Hyatt has quite the story to tell. She treated men and women soldiers in the South Pacific.

“I took care of the wounded soldiers," she said. "I was there when the United States dropped the bomb on Hiroshima.”

Other veterans cannot wait to be first in line for this new center. It will also include a World War II memorial.

“There is definitely a lot of history that is being lost as veterans are slowly passing away from wars,” said U.S. Army Veteran Gerald Stacy. “A lot of the World War II vets are going away, pretty soon there won't be any left.”

Marcus Mashack, another Army Veteran, agreed.

“I’d tell the mayor that you definitely need to build, because we don't have a lot of places for us to go,” Mashack said.

Mayor Bigelow wants everyone to understand, this won’t be like any other memorial center Utah’s seen.

“Fort Douglas does a fantastic, beautiful museum--but we don't want to do that,” explained Mayor Bigelow. “We want to be about people and be about stories. And we already got people primed and lined up to help with those stories. Utah has a lot of stories to tell from World War II.”

The mayor is working to pick a location for the new center, so far it has been narrowed down to West Valley City, Kearns or Taylorsville.

If you want to donate to the endeavor or learn more about it, visit the Utah Veterans Memorial Hall's website. Additional information is available here.