War memorial design spurs organizers to seek donations

Friday, June 9, 2006

Scott County Commission wants to update marker.

BENTON, Mo. -- Now that Scott County has a design concept for its updated war memorial on the county courthouse grounds, organizers plan to proceed with fund-raising efforts.

The first donation toward the project's completion came not from Scott County, but from Cape Girardeau.

A concept for the memorial was recently developed by the committee created to head the project. The design will use the existing concrete structure and fountain, but add more plaques and update plumbing and lighting to the area.

Last month the Scott County Commission announced it wanted to pursue updating the memorial on the courthouse lawn. It was unveiled in 1940 with the names of veterans from the county who died in World War I.

Since then, the memorial has fallen into disrepair. Now the commission wants to update it with the names of veterans from Scott County killed in all American wars since World War I and repair the monument.

The committee charged with heading up the project hasn't begun to solicit donations -- the primary source of funds for the update -- but the Cape Girardeau VFW post gave the first donation of $100 this week.

Post commander Bill Humphries, a Scott County native, said post leadership voted to give the donation for two reasons.

Several people in the Cape Girardeau VFW are from Scott County and the post likes to support any such local projects, he said.

"It makes me feel good that the Cape Girardeau VFW wants to donate to it, and I'm sure all of the Scott County veterans organizations will get on board," said Scott County Presiding Commissioner Martin Priggel.

On Thursday the Kelso Township VFW, based in Scott City, pledged $200 to the project.

County developer Joel Evans said estimates are now being created to figure out the cost of the update. Evans said the county needed a concept of how the memorial would be improved before a cost estimate could be reached.

The design will likely include separate plaques of names for different conflicts, along with the POW-MIA logo on each side to honor those who haven't been identified as killed in action.

Evans said a dedication ceremony is being planned for 11 a.m. on Veterans Day, Nov. 11. Evans said the county hopes to make the dedication "a big event," with a Medal of Honor recipient as keynote speaker, a band and a military flyover.

Soliciting funds for the update should begin soon, and a list of names for the memorial is nearing completion, Evans said. The solicitation will involve the project committee meeting with local veterans organizations, giving them a presentation on the project.

Priggel said that, even if enough donated funds aren't found for the project, the county could make up a small difference with its own funds.

msanders@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 182

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