City leaders, Parker County American Legion Post 163 and community members gathered to remember a man who strived to honor veterans.
On Tuesday afternoon, the American Legion dedicated the pavilion at Weatherford’s Veteran’s Memorial in Soldier Spring Park to Chuck Katlic, a World War II veteran who was instrumental in establishing the veteran’s memorial. Katlic died in 2014.
A plaque has been placed at the pavilion in Katlic’s honor. Katlic, a member of the U.S. Army, fought in the Battle of the Bulge among others during WW II. He received the Bronze Star and the Combat Infantry Badge, among other awards and medals.
Katlic moved to Weatherford in 1978 and got involved with the community, volunteering for senior citizens, veterans, national and state parks and the cancer society. Most notably, Katlic was also very diligent about placing flags on veterans’ graves on Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day, and he established a program to give transportation to veterans who needed it.
The Veteran’s Memorial was established in 2018 by the united forces of the American Legion Post 163, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Parker County Gold Star Families.
Establishing the Veteran’s Memorial is a project that Katlic did not waiver on, American Legion Post 163 Finance Officer Ron Chandler said.
“He wanted a veteran’s park in Parker County because there isn’t one,” Chandler said. “That was his bottom line all the way up until we opened this place up.”
Weatherford Parks, Recreation and Special Events Director Shannon Goodman talked about his department’s role in establishing the Veteran’s Memorial. Goodman said he started working on the project in about 2010 when he was the assistant parks director. When picking a location for the memorial, Soldier Spring Park stood out, Goodman said.
“There was a tie-in with the history of Soldier Spring and the Confederate soldiers that were allegedly camped here on site, which gave it its name and which earned it its historical plaque,” Goodman said. “The other was the tranquility of the park. This had that feel that family and veterans could come out and walk this park and feel nature out here.”
Goodman said the community helped bring the memorial into existence by supporting the American Legion Post 163, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Parker County Gold Star Families.
“This whole park is kind of a dedication to what Chuck’s vision was to have a memorial park in Weatherford and Parker County,” Goodman said.
Gold Star mother Carole Savage, whose stepson U.S. Army Sgt. John J. Savage was killed in 2008 in Iraq, shared about how Katlic welcomed her and her family during an event in her stepson’s honor.
“My husband and I, John [W.] Savage, just cannot forget Chuck,” Savage said. “Being a part of this has been awesome. Working with Kaye Jordan [of Parker County Gold Star Families] couldn’t be better, but Chuck will always be in John’s and my heart for [how] he honored our son.”
Goodman encouraged attendees to donate to the Walk of Honor, which has personalized bricks for those who have served in the military, via the American Legion Post 163.