Veterans Crowdfunding to Bring Memory of Women’s Legacy to Life | Covid-19
The Women’s Legacy Memorial will soon be set in stone, thanks to a matching grant of $ 50,000 that local veterans organizations received from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority.
Now the Howard County Veterans Memorial Corp. (HCVMC) and the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Chapter 28 are crowdfunding to raise $ 50,000 locally to host the game. Money must be collected by June 8. If successful, funds are the last item needed to bring the memorial to life, according to Jerry Paul, president of the HCVMC and designer of the project.
âWe appreciate when people say, ‘We appreciate our veterans,’ but now we need you to appreciate us by stepping in and making a contribution,â said Paul.
Fundraising for the nearly $ 500,000 project has been underway for nearly five years, and Paul said he was eager to make it a reality. He hopes that the memorial will be installed in the plaza of the courthouse this summer.
The women’s memorial, Paul said, is long overdue. It honors the contributions of women of the past, present and future, which Paul says are often overlooked and rarely honored in stone.
âHe really recognizes the accomplishments of women. It is not a panacea for our past and our marginalized women, but it is a teaching moment. We hope that not only will this be a nice addition to the courthouse, but that it will be something that everyone appreciates what we do, recognize women, âhe said.
The memorial represents three life-size women: Rosie the Riveter, who represents the worker; a woman of color inspired by the first African-American female fighter pilot in US Air Force history, Shawna Rochelle Kimbrell of Lafayette; and a modern day female soldier with a musket and prosthetic leg to symbolize the physical and emotional sacrifices of female servicemen.
The memorial recognizes the glass ceilings women have to walk through, Paul said, adding that black women have to go through two glass ceilings.
âThink about what women have to go through. You have to push harder, and women of color have to cross sex and color. It’s so important for them to be recognized, and here you have a woman from immigrant parents who became the first black fighter pilot in Air Force history. She is from Lafayette. So when you say this is dedicated to the Hoosier girls from Indiana, you can’t get more Hoosier than that, âPaul said.
Renowned sculptor Benjamin Victor, an artist-in-residence at Idaho State University, was tasked with the project. Victor is the only living artist to have three works in the National Statuary Hall of the United States Capitol. And he knows Kokomo. Victor was the artist behind the Blue / Gold Star Family Monument in the Veterans Memorial Park which was installed in 2015.
Victor has already created the women’s molds for the monument, and Paul said they were “first rate”.
Many local businesses and organizations stepped in to help bring the monument to life by taking on some of the work. The masonry labor is donated, Paul said, and the welding program’s Kokomo Area Career Center students created the metal fence and will create the âIndianaâ stone piece for the exhibit.
Star Building Supply provides the block, masonry product, cultured stone and natural limestone at a reduced cost. Rob Alexander of Star Building Supply said his company is happy to help.
âI love what he does for the community and I believe in the project. We wanted to help in the way we could, âAlexander said.
IBEW 873 donates all electrical equipment and labor. The project, according to Mike Young, local trade manager, is a project his organization immediately supported.
âWhen Jerry Paul first spoke to me about the potential of a Women’s Veterans Memorial, the first of its kind, I immediately agreed. -brain for IBEW 873 to be involved, âsaid Young. “We are delighted that this monument is about to begin.”
Other companies have contributed financially, such as Solidarity Community Federal Credit Union and LeaderOne Financial. This year, LeaderOne Financial is donating $ 100 from the closing of each VA loan to the Women’s Legacy Memorial. Steve DeLon, vice president of LeaderOne, said the project was one that he and Ryan Minick, the other vice president of LeaderOne, wanted to support.
âWe were like, ‘We have to do something to try to help.’ We were like, “Well, we do a lot of VA loans.” So every time we close one, we just donate $ 100 back to the memorial fund, âDeLon said. âWe thought it was a great way to give back to some veterans. We are a veteran friendly company so we are just trying to help them.
Paul thanked everyone who has contributed to the project so far. Now he’s calling on the community to help raise $ 50,000 by June 8 to host the game, which is part of IHCDA’s CreatINg Places program. The program started in 2016 and more than $ 4.5 million has been raised in public funds to support projects with an additional $ 3.7 million in IHCDA counterpart funds.
Eligible projects must have a minimum total development cost of $ 100,000.
âThis project will help preserve the honor and legacy of the women who served in our military,â said Indiana Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch. “We are pleased to partner with the Chapter 28 of American Disabled Veterans to bring this magnificent new memorial plaza to Kokomo.”
As of Monday, $ 5,673 of the $ 50,000 goal was raised online.
Donations can be made online at www.patronicity.com/womensmemorial. Donations can also be made by mail by check payable to DAV Chapter 28, 3706 S. Lafountain St. Suite C, Kokomo, Indiana, 46902 with “memorial” written in the memo.