Fund raising for veterans’ memorial under way

Published 3:26 am Thursday, May 1, 2003

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- The Veterans Memorial Committee in Niles recently welcomed a $10,000 donation from a Niles couple.
The donation from Niles residents Alex (a former Marine) and Sandra Moore adds a considerable amount of money toward the estimated $100,000 to $150,000 needed to complete the Veterans Memorial.
Lou Liebetrau, the woman responsible for initially getting the project started, said so far $13,000 has been raised for the project.
She said that amount includes the latest $10,000 donation.
The committee, that started out with only two to three members, but has now grown to between 18 and 20 members, however, has not yet applied for any grants from the city, she said.
But Liebetrau said they plan to do so in the future.
In addition to making donations, however, Liebetrau said those who want to support the project can now also buy bricks.
A brick will cost $25 for veterans and $40 for other individuals or companies, and those who want can have the bricks they buy engraved with words of their choosing, she said.
The memorial, that by some, according to Liebetrau, has been referred to as the "Jewel of Niles," will be Niles' way to thank those who have fought for the country's freedom, she said.
According to a new Veterans Memorial Committee brochure, the Veterans Memorial will be erected in the Riverfront Park in Niles, just south of the amphitheater and north of the Main Street bridge.
The Niles City Council, in total support of the project, donated this area for the memorial earlier this year.
The memorial will be in the shape of a pentagon with a tapered marble column at its center.
The American flag will fly at the apex of the pentagon with the five service flags surrounding the column.
Benches will also be placed strategically in the inner area of the pentagon.
And although the committee needs more money to erect the memorial, Liebetrau said several people who want to help out have already contacted her.
It's not just in the form of monetary donations, however, that Liebetrau experiences community support for the project.
She said the French Paper committee donated the paper for the new brochures.
A Niles High School Printing Class later used that paper to, free of charge, produce the 5000 new brochures for the committee, she said.
And when Liebetrau asked the owner of Hunziker's Inc. on Yankee Street in Niles whether he wanted to do something for the memorial, he said he would be happy to furnish and install a hedge surrounding the monument.
She also thinks having the memorial will be a 'shot in the arm' for veterans and families.
During her time working on the project, Liebetrau has realized the memorial is something the Niles community wants.
However, she knows it will take time to raise enough money to complete the project, and she knows the economy is currently slow.
Those who want more information about the Veterans Memorial Project, or information about how to buy bricks, can call the Veterans Memorial Committee on: 269-683-7266.
The new brochure also has information about how to make donations.