World War II Committee Raising Funds
Memorial “pavers” to go on sale
They’ve already raised over $25,000 from voluntary donations and the sale of t-shirts and sweatshirts. Now, the World War II Memorial Committee is about to embark on a major fundraising effort that they hope will bring them much closer to their goal of $200,000 – the amount that they estimate will be needed to replace the crumbling wooden memorial on the upper common with a new, granite monument honoring the citizens of Wakefield, Massachusetts who served during the Second World War.
The Committee will soon be selling granite “pavers” that will form a “Walk of Remembrance” around the new World War II Memorial, which the Committee hopes to have built by Memorial Day, 2011. Over the next month, local residents will be receiving a flyer in their Gas & Light bills with information and an order form for requesting a paver to honor a veteran. The forms will also be available at Town Hall, the library and the Senior Center. A complete packet of information will be provided once the paver order, with deposit, has been received.
A total of 520 individual granite pavers will be available to all who wish to make a contribution of $300 or $500 per paver. The pavers will be available in two sizes: 12-inch x 12-inch pavers may be purchased for $500, and 6-inch x 12-inch pavers will be $300. Each paver will be inscribed with the name, rank and branch of service of the family member or friend whose service is being recognized. The placement of the pavers will be determined in the order in which final payment is received.
Phyllis Hull, Chairman of the World War II Memorial Committee, stresses that the pavers for the “Walk of Remembrance” are not limited to World War II veterans. Pavers may be purchased to honor anyone who has served, or is currently serving, in the Armed Forces of the United States.
Dick Pearson serves on the paver subcommittee and says that committee members John Encarnacao and James Murphy deserve the lion’s share of the credit. “John and Jim have done a great job on the pavers,” Pearson says. “That’s going to be our number one fundraiser.”
Hull has been thrilled with the community’s reception to the committee’s fundraising efforts to date. “Businesses have been so cooperative,” she says, noting that The Savings Bank, the Lord Wakefield and Caporale’s Liquors have allowed the committee to sell t-shirts and sweatshirts on their premises. Tedeschi’s volunteered to put out a canister for donations. Chuck Geier of Chuck Wagon Diner has been selling wall advertisements in exchange for donations to the new memorial, Hull says, and Rich Manzi of the Sign Shop has provided shirts and silk-screening at cost.
The Crystal Community Club and the Council of Clubs have embarked on their own drives to assist with the fundraising effort. Hull notes that a fundraising cribbage tournament will be held on Sunday, January 17, 2010 at the West Side Social Club featuring prizes from local merchants and proceeds going to the World War II Memorial Fund.
The present wooden World War II Memorial on the Upper Common was originally dedicated on May 30, 1944. After a renovation, the monument was rededicated on May 30, 1985. But over the years, the old Memorial has fallen into serious disrepair.
The movement to replace the old monument began in late 2007, when numerous veterans and veterans’ organizations petitioned the Board of Selectmen to authorize a committee to oversee the replacement of the existing memorial with a new granite monument on the same site. The committee worked to create a design and has finalized plans for the new granite memorial to honor all 2,466 Wakefield residents who served in the Armed Forces of the United States during World War II.
The new granite monument will feature a Memorial Wall of Honor – five granite monument tablets with five bronze plaques mounted on the tablets. The center bronze plaque will display the names of the 71 Wakefield citizens who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country in World War II. The other four plaques will display the names of the 2,395 other Wakefield men and women who served their country during World War II.
The committee would like to hear from anyone who knows of World War II veterans still living whose names are on the old memorial in order to make them aware of the efforts underway to create a new memorial in their honor.
The World War II Committee sees the effort to build a new monument as “a symbol of the community’s appreciation for the sacrifices that Wakefield residents have made to protect and preserve our freedom.” The committee hopes that the new memorial will also provide educational opportunities for all to learn about and recognize the sacrifices of veterans.
The flyers and order forms for the pavers are going out over the next several weeks in the MGLD bills and will have all of the information on sending in a deposit toward a memorial paver. Anyone who still has a question may call Jim Murphy at 781-246-5320.
In the meantime, donations in any amount are welcome. Those wishing to make donations toward the new World War II Memorial should send them to: Town of Wakefield, c/o Town Administrator, William J. Lee Memorial Town Hall, 1 Lafayette St., Wakefield, MA 01880. Make checks payable to “Town of Wakefield World War II Memorial Fund.” Anyone wishing to help with the fundraising efforts should call Phyllis Hull at 781-245-8684.
[This story originally appeared in the Wakefield Daily Item.]
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