Groundbreaking for Veterans’ Memorial Monument is Sunday at 2 p.m.
By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- The Veterans' Memorial project will reach a milestone at Riverfront Park in Niles on Sunday.
Lou Liebetrau, Veterans' Memorial Committee co-chair, said a ground breaking ceremony for the Veterans' Memorial is set for 2 p.m.
Don Alsbro, a retired Benton Harbor resident with a distinguished military and professional career in education, will lead the ground breaking ceremony, she said.
Alsbro's career includes several active duty tours as army hospital administrator, nine years of active duty, including two tours in Vietnam, and a P.hD in Educational Leadership from Wayne State University, Detroit, in 1987.
During his military career he has received the Bronze Star, the Army Commendation Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal and several other awards, Liebetrau said.
And, she said, in 1991 Alsbro was elected to Western Michigan University's ROTC Hall of Fame.
Alsbro, an active member of the Veterans of War Post 4952 in Berrien Springs, and also a member of the Berrien Springs American Legion Post, said every community needs a place where people can gather to honor soldiers, both those who were killed during wars and those who are still alive.
He thinks memorial monuments help keep alive the memory of what many American soldiers have endured during wars, so that younger generations won't forget.
Alsbro said he will make a few general remarks at the ceremony before inviting people in the audience to take part in the the actual ground breaking.
He hopes many veterans will help turn dirt to create a sense of participation
So far the committee has raised more than $60,000 toward the project, Liebetrau. said. The total cost has been estimated at roughly $100,000.
She said raising funds has included a lot of footwork, including door-to-door visits and writing letters asking for donations.
Single donations have ranged from $25 to $15,000, Liebetrau said.
She said the sale of Veterans Memorial bricks has raised over $20,000 alone.
And, it seems like donations keep coming in.
Liebetrau said she received another $1,000 donation this week.
In addition to donating money, several business have also donated material and their own time to the project, she said.
Alsbro said one veteran will bring a book he has published to the ground breaking ceremony.
All proceeds of the book sale will go to the Veterans Memorial, he said.
Alsbro said there is also a chance "Lest We Forget," a movie with interviews from several Berrien County veterans, will be for sale at the ground breaking ceremony.
He hopes it will be possible to make proceeds of video sales also go to the Veterans Memorial.