Philippi Family Builds Veterans Memorial in Front Yard - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Philippi Family Builds Veterans Memorial in Front Yard

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In Barbour County, where one couple has made a lasting impression in downtown Philippi - something for community members to appreciate even once Memorial Day has passed: a veterans memorial right in their front yard.

HM1 Alan Kropf is a veteran of the United States Navy. He retired in 2012, 20 years to the day after joining in 1992.

"I did six months in Africa, I did a war tour in Iraq, and my last tour was in Afghanistan," said Kropf.

About two weeks ago, Kropf arrived home from work to find the surprise of his life, at the home he shares with his wife and their eight kids: A memorial honoring the 15 marines and sailors in Kropf's unit who gave the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan.

"First emotion was shock. When I first came home, my wife was worried that I wasn't going to like it. I just couldn't express that I did like it, I was still just in shock over the shear immensity of it," said said Kropf.

It was joint effort, as the kids and members from the family's church pitched in. The memorial features purple, yellow, and red flowers, each with their own symbolic meaning, 15 stones for those lives lost, and the red white and blue waving high.

"Knowing they're from my unit, whether they had light wounds or even heavy wounds, I took it personally," said Kropf.

The family helped to dedicate the memorial on Sunday, with some very special guests from the community.

"A phone call was made to the American Legion from the Patriot Guard, and it just completely snowballed out," said Kropf.

And if that memorial reminds just one passerby about those who serve our country, the Kropfs have done their job. They have plans to install a fountain and a plaque with the soldiers' names.