George Scarborough has embarked on the biggest project of his life.

George Scarborough has embarked on the biggest project of his life.

As the volunteer chairman for The Wall That Heals Committee, Scarborough is responsible for an estimated 500 volunteers who will help visitors at Pink Hill Park in Blue Springs beginning next Thursday morning and finishing the following Sunday night.

Volunteers will satisfy needs in maintenance, security, greeting, registration, putting on programs, manning displays, picking up trash, traffic control and parking.

Could there possibly be anything else?

Scarborough laughs.

“Isn’t that enough?”

How did you get involved in this event?

“It started when I joined the American Legion in Blue Springs in 2004. I served as the commander there and eventually became the American Legion vice commander for the Department of Missouri Zone 2, which covers the entire northwest section of the state.

“My good friend Warren Parker approached me one day and told me what the city was planning to do and that I had to be a part of it, so we all met and decided on what our roles would be. This is what I was chosen for.

“And not once did the people in the beginning ever imagine that it would become what it has. It’s been the biggest volunteer project I’ve ever been a part of.”

How will volunteers help at the event, and what are some of the areas where you still need help?

“Each volunteer is given a task. Most of the people will be given a four-hour task. There’s about 500 tasks to cover in the four days the wall is here. A lot of people are volunteering for more than one task – but it’s still huge. It’s absolutely the biggest thing Blue Springs has ever done.

“The volunteers are coming from businesses and organizations throughout the city and beyond it. ATK (the company that operates Lake City) found 100 volunteers to help, but people from local churches, veteran organizations and the (Blue Springs) school district all have stepped forward to try and make this thing special. There is no way that this could have been done without all this help.

“We still need greeters. Those are the people who will greet each and every veteran who visits the wall. But we could always use more volunteers for any category. You can never have too many.”

Did you serve in Vietnam?

“(Today) will be the anniversary of when I first went to Vietnam. Back on Sept. 24, 1969. I served in the Air Force for a year as a aircraft mechanic. I was based in Tuy Hoa. The base we were on suffered mortar fire and rocket attacks. We lost a few guys from our company, and we lost some aircraft. As far as hand-to-hand combat and firefights – I wasn’t a part of that. I saw none of that.”

What will this event be like for those veterans who have never seen the actual monument in Washington D.C., or who have never seen a traveling replica?

“I just saw it in Milwaukee three weeks ago. It’s very powerful. For the men and women who served, for the men who experienced combat, it’s going to hurt inside. He – and I should say she, too – will recall their time spent there. There won’t be a dry eye.

“But when they leave, I know they’ll feel a sense of pride for having served their country. They’ll feel that most of all in the end.”

Age: 65
Residence: Grain Valley
Volunteers at: Numerous veteran organizations throughout Eastern Jackson County.
How many years as a volunteer: 26 years.
Day Job: Retired from the Air Force. Worked as an information technology program manager for Boeing Aircraft Company in St. Louis.

What others say about The Wall That Heals event and the volunteers behind it:

“I think everyone is happy with the assignments that have been given them to perform for this event. It will be something the city can be proud of.” — Marissa Rinella, administrative volunteer and recent University of Missouri graduate in marketing. She is responsible for entering personal data of each volunteer into a data base and assigning duties.