New Memorials Dedicated on Beech Mountain (See Story + Photo Gallery)
On July 4, 2021, a dedication ceremony was held for the new Bob Wynn Memorial Park & the Reub and Barbara Mooradian Garden. The memorials are located at 510 Beech Mountain Parkway along the new Walking Trail which flows through the Town on its way to Overlook Park and also the Beech Mountain Resort. Members of the Volunteer Fire Department and Town Council, Residents and members of the Wynn Family attended the Grand Opening.
Town Manager and Beech Mountain Volunteer Fire Chief Bob Pudney lead the proceedings. He introduced the Wynn Family and asked Mayor Barry Kaufman for opening remarks. The Mayor welcomed over 60 attendees and thanked everyone involved with this important project.
The Ceremony continued as Chief Pudney shared some remarks about Firefighter Bob “Bobby” Wynn. Bobby was a native of Easley, South Carolina, and graduated Clemson University in 1975. While on Beech, Bobby found himself working for the Ski Resort and the Land of Oz which coincided with his Recreation and Parks Administration background. He joined the Beech Mountain Volunteer Fire Department and became a state certified firefighter and Emergency Medical Technician. In addition to his volunteer firefighting efforts, he also was a Member of the Peace Corps, further demonstrating his desire to serve his fellow man.
After leaving Beech, he moved to Wrightsville Beach and began serving on the coastal Volunteer Fire Department and was raised to the rank of Lieutenant. On December 6, 1981, he responded to a structure fire at an apartment complex. As firefighters attempted to stop the spread of the fire, a flashover occurred resulting in Lieutenant Wynn’s death and serious injury of his crew. At age 28, Lieutenant Wynn died in the line of duty serving his community.
Bobby’s brother Daryl, his sister Judy and his niece Dawn were present as Chief Pudney rededicated the memorial to Lieutenant Bob Wynn and stated that his sacrifice and desire to help others will never be forgotten. Daryl shared two stories about his brother and thanked everyone for remembering Bobby. Fred Pfohl also spoke fondly of Bobby at the ceremony.
Chief Pudney thanked Beech Mountain Volunteer Fire Department Member Michael Holland for coming up with the idea and design for the new memorial and for his project management and hands-on work constructing the beautiful park and garden. Pudney also thanked the Town’s Parks and Recreation, Public Works, Fire Department and Town Council for funding and construction assistance.
Chief Pudney continued the Grand Opening Ceremony by dedicating the Reub and Barbara Mooradian Garden adjacent to the Wynn Memorial. This Garden honors Chief Reuben Mooradian who was born in North Attleboro, Massachusetts on February 20, 1930, and attended the College University of Missouri. Reub enlisted in the Army in 1952. He was part of and advisor to the 8240th Army Unit, United Nations Partisan Forces – Korea and served two tours of duty in Vietnam and Laos as a Special Forces officer. He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1971. Reub was a founder and early member of the Beech Mountain Volunteer Fire Department. He served as Fire Chief from 1974 – 1995. He was a State Certified Firefighter II and a Hazardous Materials Certified Responder. He served as the first pro-tem Town Mayor and was a Town Council Member for over 10 years. Reub passed away in 2017 and was survived by his wife Barbara who is also honored by the Town with this Memorial Garden.
Barbara was the Town’s first Clerk and responsible for the design and implementation of the town’s addressing system. She was a strong supporter of the Beech Mountain Volunteer Fire Department and served on the Beech Mountain Club Board of Directors. Barbara was an accomplished painter. Reub and Barbara were animal lovers and raised Weimaraners. Barbara passed away in March of 2021 and was survived by her Goldendoodle, Sandy, who is doing well in a loving home.
Even after death the Mooradians’ community efforts continue. They donated over 1 million dollars to the Beech Mountain Volunteer Fire Department, Beech Mountain Police Department, and the Avery County Humane Society.
Chief Pudney concluded the event by explaining the Bell Ceremony. “The fire service today is ever changing, but it is steeped in traditions over 200 years old,” noted the Chief. “One such tradition is the ‘sounding of the bell’. When a firefighter had died, paying the supreme sacrifice, it was the bell that solemnly announced a comrade’s passing. We use these traditions as symbols, which reflect honor and respect on those who have given so much and served their communities so well.”
The Bell Ceremony was performed by Tim Holland and Michael Holland for Chief Mooradian and Lieutenant Wynn who selflessly dedicated their lives for the good of their fellow man, their tasks completed, their duties well done. We ring the bell, representing the end of their duties.
“On behalf of the Town of Beech Mountain, and the Beech Mountain Volunteer Fire Department we dedicate this beautiful park, memorials and flag poles to the memory of Chief Reuben and Barbara Mooradian and to Lieutenant Bob Wynn, who shall be remembered forever for their service to our community,” remarked Chief Pudney.