Dads, sons, brothers


The grounds, monuments and flags of the veterans memorial behind the Highland County YMCA at Liberty Park in Hillsboro have been well-maintained and the memorial has grown due to the efforts of Rick Tipton.

Tipton, a Hillsboro resident who served in the Ohio National Guard for nine years, visited the site six years ago and decided the veterans deserved something better.

“It just looked like it needed mowed a little bit better and I brought my push mower up and just started mowing it,” said Tipton.

Soon after that he attended a Hillsboro City Council meeting and asked for permission to mow the grass at the memorial. City officials allowed him to do the mowing and granted him creative control of the memorial.

Tipton and his wife Sherry have been maintaining and adding to the memorial on a volunteer basis ever since.

In early 2020, Hillsboro City Safety and Service Director Brianne Abbott offered Tipton a position as a part-time caretaker for Hillsboro’s parks. Tipton accepted the position, but he turned down the offer to include the maintenance of the veterans memorial at Liberty Park in his duties as caretaker.

“I enclosed a perimeter with the fencing that is there now and just started adding the statues, and what you see that is here now is what my wife and I have done to it over the years,” said Tipton. “Each year we try to add something more to it.”

Tipton added angels to the monument this year and a Vietnam veterans field was added last year.

“Whenever a Vietnam veteran passes away we put a plaque in front of a tree and the center row blooms in white, the two rows on each side of it bloom in red, and the two rows on the outside of them bloom in white, so eventually you will have archways to walk to,” he said.

Fifty-two trees are currently planted in the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Field and 15 plaques are posted with more to be added soon.

Tipton estimated that he has spent about $8,000 on the memorial so far, and he has received donations from the local VFW, AMVETS and DAV organizations. Local veterans organizations donated a zero-turn mower to Tipton this year.

“It’s a beautiful place and a lot of people in town don’t even know that it’s out here,” said Tipton. “The one in town is the one that gets most of the attention because it’s in town and people drive by it every day.”

Tipton said he wants people to know about the memorial and come to visit the site.

“I ask people to come look at it and enjoy it because we’ve done everything we’ve done to get the families to come out and appreciate this because it was done for their fathers, sons, and brothers,” he said.

Reach John Hackley at 937-402-2571.

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