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Fund-raising begins for Hartington Area Veterans Memorial

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HARTINGTON — The planning and the design of the new Hartington Area Veterans Memorial is well underway and the initial construction for Phase One will begin soon.  

Phase One consists of leveling the entire memorial grounds so it is level with Broadway Avenue to the west and the planned entrance for the new veteran’s memorial.  

A lot of work will be involved in removing the current dirt and underground basement floor that still remains beneath the surface.  Next a footing and a wall will be constructed around the perimeter of the memorial area and new dirt brought in to fill the cavity.  Next,  a fence will be installed on top of the wall.  The goal is to have this Phase One portion of the project completed and paid for by this fall.

To date, the majority of the money raised for the project has come from Veteran name sponsors and adoptions at $150 per veteran and the sponsorships are coming in fairly steady.  

“We have had two larger cash donations of $10,000 each, two $5,000 donations and six donations of $500 to $2,500 along with a number of donations under $500,” said Project Manager Dan Kathol.  “To date, the focus has been on trying to get the veteran sponsorships well underway as there are close to 1,500 veterans on the list to make contact with or with family members and hopefully gain sponsorships as part of the “No Veteran Left Behind” mission.”

As with any fundraising project, the prospective donors want to feel comfortable the project is needed, that it will be of a quality nature and it will indeed be completed and worthy of a personal monetary investment, Kathol said. 

In terms of the need, there is no doubt the Hartington area needs a memorial to honor and pay tribute in a very special and visual way to the many veterans who have any affiliation with the Hartington area past or present, Kathol said. 

“Many other northeast Nebraska communities have or will be constructing veteran memorials which is a real testimonial to the patriotism that runs deep in our part of the state and country.  Cedar County communities can be proud of their effort to “Thank A Veteran” through the memorials  throughout the county and northeast Nebraska,” Kathol said.

“We have been working hard at designing a veterans memorial we can all take pride in and that will last for many generations to come,” Kathol said.  “We have contracted with Plainview Monument Co. to work with us on the design and to supply the granite monuments that will largely make up the memorial.  Our goal has been to make the memorial special, educational and original,” Kathol said.

It might appear this is a difficult period to try and raise money because of the uncertainty surrounding the Covid 19 virus and the impact it has and continues to have on jobs, income, savings and the overall economy.  

“For sure it is a difficult time but we need to begin and continue the fund-raising efforts including the veteran sponsorships with hope we move through this period of uncertainty sooner versus later,” he said.  “Currently, the plan is to start a major fund-raising campaign late this summer as the estimated cost of the total project is more closely defined. If the project takes an extra year to complete in order to raise the necessary funds, we will have to live with that possible reality. Equally as important, is that we completely exhaust all efforts to get as many veteran names included on the memorial walls and our goal is to complete this by the end of 2020.  The bottom line is that we will have a very nice veterans memorial we can all be proud of when it is completed.”

Enclosed in this section is the form used by donor patrons to make a monetary gift or donation to the project.  

There are nine levels of giving each marked with a different military rank with the top level of giving signified as a Bronze Star. 

All monetary gifts and gift-in-kind donations of labor and or materials over $500 will be recognized on a permanent donor wall inside the memorial and monetary gifts are tax deductible.  

Donations are welcome from individuals, families or business entities including any foundation grants that will be applied for and hopefully successful in receiving in helping raise the necessary funds.  

As part of the fundraising goal, an endowment is planned to raise and hold an additional $20-$25,000 in reserve for the upkeep of the memorial and the replacement of flags so the veteran’s memorial can be maintained for many years to come.

Kathol said the donor will have the opportunity to list either their business, an individual name, their family name or “In Memory Of” a family member, friend or veteran.  

All monetary gifts and donations should include a check made out to the Hartington Veterans Memorial and sent to The Hartington Veterans Memorial, P.O. Box 882, Hartington, NE.  68739 along with the completed form. An acknowledgment letter will be sent to the donor soon after the donation is received.

“We all have a debt to pay for the freedom we enjoy in our great country.  Contributing toward this veteran’s memorial project is a way we can close the gap and a great way to thank our area veterans for their dedicated and unselfish service to our country.  Any contribution that is made large or small,  will only be exceeded by the sacrifice that the veterans have made on our behalf,” Kathol said.