BETHANY - Now that the handsome Wall of Honor project at Veterans Memorial Park is nearing completion this year members of Bethany's VFW Beletzky-Hoppe Post 2448 have announced the next stage: The post is accepting the names of servicemen to be engraved on the polished black granite wall of the monument overlooking Hockanum Lake at the park.

The ambitious volunteer construction project, begun more than a year ago, is "pretty well wrapped up," said Eugene "Timer" Downs, post quartermaster. Four to six granite benches, which will be located on the patio facing the wall, and site plantings remain to be donated, he said. .

All veterans, both alive and deceased, who have been honorably discharged from a United States service branch and have been a Bethany resident for at least one continuous year are eligible to have their names inscribed on the monument, together with the service branch and war or campaign they served in. The names will be run in continuous lines across the monument, with each listing separated from the next by a star, Downs said.

The lettering and engraving will be done by noted master stonecarver Peter Horbick, commander of the post.

Sponsorship forms, together with full information on the criteria and cost, are available at the Town Clerk's office, Clark Memorial Library, Christ Episcopal Church and First Church of Christ or by contacting a post member.

The Wall of Honor, which is currently covered from the wrath of winter, has proved to be "a super project" which will permanently honor those who have served their country, Downs said. It has involved an immense number of work hours by post members and other volunteers and generous donations of equipment, material and money from many people and local companies.

Downs singled out fellow post member Thomas Martucci for designing the monument, supervising the project and "pitching in" on its construction as well. He has "an eye" for design and engineering, Downs said. Martucci played a similar role the previous year in the construction of the Veterans Memorial Bridge that connects the circular lakeside footpath over Hockanum Brook.

Horbick also commended Paul Crotta of Mesa Construction Co, who did a lot of the stone work on the monument gratis.

Before the Wall of Honor project is officially finished, Horbick said, he plans to carve a stone monument to The Dogs of War, who have "played an important part in several wars." It will be dedicated to his son, the late Peter Horbick, Jr.

For further information about sponsorship, call Martucci at 393-9467 or Downs at 393-3387.