Adrian Bitela

Adrian Bitela, county veterans service officer, left, presents an update on the Vietnam Veterans Traveling Wall exhibit to Val Verde County Commissioners Court, including, from left, County Judge Lewis G. Owens Jr., Commissioner Pct. 3 Beau Nettleton and Commissioner Pct. 4 Gustavo “Gus” Flores.

Volunteers are still needed to assist with a traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall exhibit set to visit Del Rio in March.

Adrian Bitela, the county veterans service officer, gave an update on the traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall exhibit, which is called “The Wall That Heals,” during Wednesday’s regular term meeting of Val Verde County Commissioners Court.

The traveling wall exhibit is scheduled to be in Del Rio from March 5-8. It will be sited at the Bank & Trust Ram Field on Ogden Street and will be open for visitors 24 hours a day.

“We’re still a little shy of volunteers for the watch. We have about 30 right now, and we need more,” Bitela told the court.

Bitela said he will be contacting Laughlin Air Force Base for additional volunteers.

He said he also plans to meet with Col. Lee Gentile, the commander of the 47th Flying Training Wing at Laughlin, to request a fly-by on Saturday, March 7, for a “Welcome Home” ceremony that will be part of the activities held in conjunction with the wall exhibit.

“Everything is going well. We’ve got the emergency medical services function being taken care of by the Border Patrol on the days of the exhibit. They will be standing by there at the park,” Bitela said.

Bitela also said he will not be able to use regular candles for the event as he had initially intended, but will now have to use electronic candles. He noted the new candles will be donated by Debbie Woods of AnyPlaceMD Audiology.

The veterans service officer said he will be meeting with the Del Rio High School Band this week to go over the songs and music that will be played while they are at the wall.

“We’ve also met with the city of Del Rio to talk about how we’re going to manage traffic for the wall, so everything’s taken care of there,” Bitela said.

Commissioner Pct. 3 Beau Nettleton asked if Bitela had advertised the exhibit in surrounding areas.

“I believe I’ve taken care of everything,” Bitela replied.

When Nettleton asked if he had spoken to any media outlets in San Antonio about the exhibit, Bitela said he planned to do that later Wednesday.

“There are a lot of veterans around this area,” Nettleton noted.

Bitela said he received a warm and enthusiastic reception when he went to Eagle Pass to speak about the exhibit.

Commissioner Pct. 1 Martin Wardlaw asked if the exhibit is an exact duplicate of the memorial wall in Washington, D.C., and Bitela replied, “It’s about 90 percent.”

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