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Match grant could help finalize Veteran Memorial fund-raising

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HARTINGTON — A $50,000 challenge donation could put the fundraising goal for the new Hartington Veterans Memorial over the top.

To date, more than $325,000 has been raised for the memorial, thanks to the generosity of many businesses and individuals who have made cash donations as well as the sponsorships received for 975 veterans so far, said Veterans Memorial Chairman Dan Kathol.

Fundraising is continuing for the new Hartingto Veterans Memorial that will be located in downtow Hartington and scheduled to be completed and dedicated on Veteran’s Day in November 2022.

A good share of the money raised was stimulate by a very generous $50,000 anonymous donation last year by an individual who pledged to donate the amount if and when an additional $150,000 was raised and this was recently accomplished, Kathol said.

Another generous anonymous donor has now come forward and will donate $50,000 when matched with an additional $50,000 that is raised for the project.

“We are sincerely grateful for these two large $50,000 anonymous donations made toward the memorial project that are helping to stimulate additional donations,” Kathol said. He is hoping the match prompts others to donate now, so fund-raising can be wrapped up.

Staying on schedule will require that all the money needed for the project is raised and construction stays on pace with the tight schedule, Kathol said.

The first phase of the Hartington Veterans’ Memorial project has largely been completed with the building of concrete walls to enclose the memorial and bringing in new clay dirt and packing it to rais the memorial lot up to street level.

Recently, a new sidewalk was put in on the north side and a concrete pad poured from the eas wall to the alley.

Additional work on the site will take place in the coming weeks in the interior to include sloping the memorial lot base slightly to allow the rain water and snow melt to properly drain out of the memorial onto the back alley.

In addition, there is a five-foot wide space between the south wall of the memorial and the Farm Bureau building and back lot that will need to be properly landscaped so that it can drain to the alley as well.

The 42-inch deep concrete footings for the larger memorial monuments will also be poured so they are in place before the final concrete floor is completed next summer and the monuments placed next fall.

Lastly, all exposed areas of the concrete walls will then be painted gray yet this fall to enhance the exterior look of the memorial.

Organizers expect next spring through early fall to be extremely busy as all the pieces of the memorial must come together.

The granite monuments were ordered last February with a 50 percent down payment made as they require a long lead time especially with all the engraving.

They will be the last items to be placed in the memorial in late September, 2022.

Because of the height of the walls and only one entrance point on the west end, the majority of the monuments will need to be hoisted over the wall with a crane and placed on their footings.

The cost of the project and the budgeting process on the project has been difficult to manage because of the escalating cost of many of the major items that will be needed for the memorial and have not been purchased. Almost everything needed for the memorial has escalated in price this past year or projected to increase in price with some major items such as iron and steel needed for the fencing, the arch and reinforcement for the concrete that has doubled in price. “We are hoping that the cost of many of the items will stabilize or come down before we need to make the purchases. Price increases will most likely continue to be an issue that we have to contend with throughout the rest of the project. Unfortunately, the memorial project is caught in a significant inflationary period that was not anticipated at the outset of the project”, says Dan.

Donations toward the veteran’s memorial project are tax-deductible if a person itemizes and utilizes the donation as a deduction.

Many individuals who have an IRA and are 72 years or older are required to take a Required Minimum Distribution from their IRA each year that is subject to income tax for the full amount. Making a direct gift of cash to the veteran’s memorial project from the IRA is considered a qualified charitable distribution (QCD) and this can be utilized when a person reaches 70 ½ years old. The donation cannot be used as a tax deduction however the amount contributed is not subject to income tax. In addition, the gift can count toward the required minimum distribution (RMD) of an individual over 72 years of age. Often times, individuals do not necessarily need the money from their IRA but are required to take the distribution and pay taxes on the distribution amount. Donating part of the RMD becomes a great way for individuals to make a contribution to the memorial project and not pay income tax on the donated amount.

“The veteran’s memorial will be a great addition to downtown Hartington as it will honor our veterans in a very special and meaningful way,” Kathol said. “Our veterans must never be forgotten and forever appreciated for the courage and the sacrifices they have made to defend our country and the precious freedom we enjoy. We owe our veterans so much and helping to support and build this veterans memorial is just one way we can honor and thank them all and their families for their dedicated and unselfish service. We will be joining many other Nebraska communities who have already taken the step to honor their veterans with a memorial.”

Kathol said the generosity shown toward this veterans memorial to date by individuals, families and businesses from inside and outside the Hartington area has been tremendous.

“It is a most noteworthy project and when finished, it will be something we can all be proud of as we honor our veterans with this memorial that will last for generations. Fundraising will continue in the months ahead to stay ahead of the price increases and minimize the need to cut back on items currently planned for the memorial. Importantly, we want to ensure that we meet or exceed the $50,000 needed to earn the matching $50,000 pledge,” Kathol said.

A form is printed inside this issue which can be used for individuals and businesses who want to make a donation. There are various levels of giving that are listed by military rank. A donor board will be in place in the memorial listing any individual, family or business who makes a donation of $500 or more with the donor listed under the appropriate rank that their donation amount falls under.

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