By Scott Surovell

Surovell is a state senator who represents parts of Fairfax and Prince William and Stafford counties. He is a Democrat.

Thank you for you recent retrospective on the 70th Anniversary of the Mill Mountain Star which has become an important part of Roanoke and is often used to commemorate significant moments in the City’s history. While your retrospective featured city leaders and a local actor, it was missing something.

It is also important to honor area residents whose labor and creativity build our public monuments such as those involved in designing and construction.

My grandfather, William H. Booth, worked for Jefferson Electric Company on Franklin Street and served as a Superintendent and the lead electrician on the star. My family dedicated a garden in his memory at the foot of the star in April, 2007 and I have his framed business card over my desk at home.

Until I started college, I spent two weeks in Roanoke every summer with my brother and grandparents who were very proud of my grandfather’s work on the Star and frequently reminded us about it. My grandparents lived in on Bowman Street in Vinton — a street which is aimed perfectly at the star. My brother and I would often go out in the street and wait for it to turn on.

Elected officials, like myself, often get too much of the glory when these public monuments are created. Please do not forget about the labor of the men and women who make our public monuments possible.

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