As a result of an idea that sprouted back in November of 2011, construction for the new Veterans Memorial in Milledgeville started the day after Memorial Day 2012.
Kaye Strehlow of Milledgeville is credited with the idea for the memorial project. The community has responded in an overwhelming fashion.
So far, residents have raised more than $30,000 for Phase One of the project, which includes the concrete work, flagpoles, and pavers, said Lee Gibbs, Commander of the Milledgeville American Legion.
The memorial is going to consist of monuments and flags for all six branches of service including the Merchant Marines, with the American and MIS flags in the center. It will also have 390 “pavers” that will have a list of names of service members past and present (106 sold so far), dates of service, ranks, special award recognition, etc.
Besides the fund raising effort, community support has been exceptional, Gibbs said. Bill Brown Construction has donated the excavating equipment and labor. Jim Lawson is doing/donating the concrete work.
Pavers for the memorial are available for those who wish to recognize their friends and loved ones who served. Originally, they were exclusively for Milledgeville residents, but now anyone is allowed to participate.
Of 390 pavers, one-third have been sold at $200 each, Gibbs said.
For the second phase, veterans plan a battle cross monument at the center, plus one for each branch of service, MIAs and POWs.
The $70,000 total project cost estimate has since escalated to nearly $90,000 because of increasing expenses, Gibbs said. Grant money is, so far, unavailable.
Gibbs said the first phase should be completed by fall.
There has been a special checking account set up for the project at Milledgeville bank and the bank is matching donations made by Dec. 30, up to $5000.
To buy a paver or donate funds, call the American Legion at 815-225-7643 or donate at Milledgeville State Bank.