HELEN — The heroism of White County’s highest decorated soldier soon will be permanently memorialized in Helen.
Pvt. Rondall H. Glaze, 18, was killed in action on Feb. 17, 1945, after serving for less than a month in the European Theatre of Operations.
But the heroic actions that ultimately resulted in Glaze’s death earned him the U.S. Military’s second highest honor, the Distinguished Service Cross.
After reading on AccessWDUN about Helen City Commissioner Fred Garmon’s proposal last month to create the Helen Veterans Park, President Ron Webb of the Northeast Georgia Veterans Society contacted Helen officials about that group contributing to the endeavor.
During this week’s Helen City Commission meeting, Webb, accompanied by group Secretary Ron Hill, proposed donating a life-size sculpture of Glaze to be placed in the proposed Helen Veterans Park that will be constructed a lot behind the Helen Welcome Center at the corner of Edelweiss Strasse and Brucken Strasse.
After that proposal, the city commission approved spending up to $22,500 to construct a memorial around the existing American eagle iron sculpture, to install walkways, lights and a 30-foot flagpole as the city’s portion of the park.
Following that meeting, Garmon met with Webb, Hill and others on the site of the proposed park to work out logistics for prominent placement of the Glaze sculpture that will be commissioned and financed entirely by the group.
Tentative plans call for the Glaze statue to be dedicated on Memorial Day 2018.
Glaze, born April 16, 1926, in rural White County, was a private in Company A, 275th Infantry Regiment serving near Lixing, France. He voluntarily and single-handedly attacked a German crew-served machine gun emplacement, killing the crew and enabling his company to advance and achieve its mission.
In addition to the Distinguished Service Cross, Glaze was awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart. His remains were returned to Georgia and buried at Union Grove Congregational Holiness Church Cemetery near Cleveland.
A portion of the citation for Glaze’s Distinguished Service Cross, presented posthumously, reads as follows:
“During a company attack, murderous enemy machine gunfire halted the advance. Realizing the extreme gravity of the situation, Pvt. Glaze voluntarily assumed the task of knocking out the hostile weapon. He crept across open terrain, while exposed to heavy enemy mortar, artillery, and rifle fire, and hurled a grenade at the machine gun crew, killing them instantly. Though fatally wounded, his courageous action enabled his company to continue its advance and gain its objective. His gallant service, personal bravery and zealous devotion to duty at the cost of his life, exemplify the highest traditions of the military forces of the United States and reflect great credit upon himself, the 70th Infantry Division, and the United States Army.”
The Northeast Georgia Veterans Society currently is raising funds for the commissioning and installation of the Glaze statue, and funding of a scholarship for a Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps student who plans to attend college and enroll in an ROTC program.
Contributions to assist with the Glaze endeavor may be mailed to the Northeast Georgia Veterans Society at the following address: NGVS – Glaze Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 1631, Cleveland, GA 30528.