LAURENS COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – Lights and ornaments illuminate the lobby of Laurens County’s Veterans Affairs (VA) office. Two Christmas trees in the lobby are dedicated to veterans and first responders.

“Every day they get up, they put their lives on the line,” said Carey Bolt, the Laurens County Veterans Affairs Officer.

This year, the Hall of Heroes Board sold ornaments for $5. Each ornament that was purchased was dedicated to a local firefighter, deputy, police officer, 911 dispatcher, or veteran.

“We have a lot of veterans who are dual unformed,” explained Bolt. “Some of them served in the National Guards, reserves, and some have left active duty and come to these different jobs.”

Money raised from the ornament sales will help fund different projects for veterans in the county, including a proposal to build a Heroes Plaza. 

“We wanted to have some type of Heroes Plaza to recognize all of the first responders in the community,” said Don Evans, the President of the Laurens County Hall of Heroes Board.

According to the board, the plaza would be built next to the county’s VA office. It would have a place to hold meetings as well as an outdoor space to memorialize local heroes.

“Family members, anybody who’s ever served in Laurens county, active military, or National Guard reserves would be able to come down here,” explained Evans. “If you want to get a plaque and represent your family member who was a fireman, police officer, dispatcher, or whatever it may be, they can be recognized for their years of service.”

The board hopes the plaza will serve as a reminder of the sacrifices that are made every day.

“A lot of people in the community — not just in Laurens but all over the nation — don’t realize that the people walking next to them every day in the store are some great people who have done some great things who most people would never recognize.”

Evans said he hopes the construction of the plaza can begin in 2023 if the county approves the plans. He also said the board will host fundraising events in 2023 for the plaza and other projects.