"I'm very patriotic," said Applin, who found inspiration for this project in the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. "Once you get to talking to the veterans and even their families and you see what they went through, it's important to get that [information] out there and let your hometown [know]. Because you know the Vietnam veterans always say, when they came back home they weren't welcome. And I actually got two guys that were in that era that would not put their names on there because of that. I told them that's what I'm trying to correct [by showing] appreciation for what all everybody has done."
With the support of area organizations and leaders, Applin went forth in 1999 and started compiling a list of more than 250 veterans -- who died in service or obtained an honorable discharge -- from World War II through the present. For many of the veterans, she discovered their names while searching almost daily for a month through the Bartow County Probate Office's record books. In the years leading up to the monument's dedication, she also helped organize community fundraisers, such as selling commemorative bricks, to raise money for the project.
According to the county proclamation, Applin was honored "for her tireless efforts to honor veterans, including research, fundraising and coordination with local and state officials, which resulted in dedication of the Veterans Memorial in Kingston in 2007; and whereas ... Ms. Applin having led an exemplary life and because of her example of leadership, volunteerism and commitment to worthwhile community causes is deserving of commendation for her lifetime of service to her fellow citizens."
Along with the proclamation, Applin's efforts and research obtained through the Kingston Veterans Monument project have been recognized by a resolution from State Sen. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville, in 2009; the National Archives in Washington, D.C.; and her name is among the Wall of Tolerance in Alabama.
"It shows me that people recognize what I do and appreciate what I do, because I've been working on Kingston's history for a long time," Applin said about being recognized. "I love history. I'm beginning to be known around here as the local historian, and I love it. I've always felt like my ancestors are talking to me. So just to bring out history and get honors like this, it's showing that people are watching and listening to what I'm doing."