BARNESVILLE, OHIO (WTRF) — Hiram Bowen of Barnesville was a Vietnam veteran and a quiet man. 

After 72 years of life, there’s only one known picture of him. But he’s being remembered for his mission–to replace the tombstones of veterans whose monuments were too worn and weathered to read

He was a familiar figure downtown, washing windows, shoveling snow…he would do stuff for people. Wash their windows, lean their gutters, just things that people didn’t want to do themselves. And he would do it for nearly nothing. 

When he found worn gravestones of veterans, he was determined to get them restored. 

Some of the graves were hard to read due to age and other factors. Hiram did research to learn the right information about the graves. So he would go to a library or to the courthouse and look up this information. 

Then he would hire Gallagher & Sons of Malaga to engrave a new stone. And he’d pay for it by working there,

The graves all had one thing in common…they were all veterans. The Civil War, the War of 1812, and the Revolutionary War were just some of the eras and people he reserached.

Soon, people heard about what he did and they would reach out to him.

Hiram Bowen died last year at age 72. There was no funeral, not even an obituary. He wanted it that way. He really was a loner and was so humble and he did so much. 

His friends want him to be remembered in the same way he remembered other veterans. 

They want to honor hims with a bench in Barnesville’s Veterans’ Park. 

So they’re raising funds for this bench to be engraved with Hiran Bowen’s name. 

His friends say they want to make a memorial for the man who honored at least 30 forgotten veterans and so he can be remembered, with his name carved in stone.

Donations can be mailed to:

Hiram Bowen Memorial

Barnesville Chamber of Commerce, 130 W Main Street,  Barnesville, OH 43713

You can also call the chamber at at 740-425-4300.