American Legion Post 246 of Clarkston, Wash. - a member of the Department of Washington State - finished a two-year project with a sign dedication to the Asotin City cemetery. The sign was designed by Asotin resident John Kirkland and was financed by Legion member Ronald Ritz.
What started this project was the fact that the post would go out to this cemetery every year to decorate the graves and hold a Legion Memorial Day ceremony. The cemetery is located approximately 2.4 miles south of Asotin going up the Asotin grade. When coming around the bend near the entrance to the cemetery, if you were not quick enough to notice the small sign you would miss the turnoff and have to go all the way up the grade and turn around to come back down.
We discussed this at our monthly meetings about two years ago and decided to take on the project to have a bigger sign built. That is when Ritz stepped forward and said he would finance the project if we could find someone to build it. This eliminated the challenge to fundraise for it.
Kirkland, who lives in Asotin, made the large signs welcoming visitors to the entrance of the city. Adjutant Randy Martz said he would chair this project. So Martz contacted Kirkland, and he committed to build the sign after the ones he made for the City of Asotin, only at a bit smaller scale. Kirkland worked on this sign for many months while Martz brought progress reports back to our monthly meetings. In the meantime Ritz went to California for the winter with the promise to be back for the dedication. While in California Ritz was in a car accident and is now laid up for the next several months and can't travel. We went ahead and had the dedication on Thursday, May 18, with the Lewiston Tribune there for an article in the paper the next day. KLEW-TV was also onsite to take pictures and interviewed Commander Noel Abbott. This was all done just in time for our Memorial Day ceremony on May 29.