After years of planning, Fairfield Twp. veterans memorial takes important step this week

FAIRFIELD TWP. — The years of planning for a veterans memorial, the township will see its first payoff on Thursday.

The Fairfield Twp. Veterans Memorial Committee and township officials will hold a groundbreaking ceremony for the memorial to be constructed at Heroes Park behind the Fairfield Twp. Fire Department headquarters. The first phase of the construction project will begin in earnest this spring.

The 6 p.m. ceremony will be emceed by John Prazynski, Air Force veteran and Gold Star father of Lcpl. Taylor Prazynski. The ceremony will feature the raising of the American flag on a new flagpole that will be at the center of the memorial and the first item installed, said Fred Valerius, chairman of the veterans memorial committee.

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Work on the memorial’s design began five years ago, Valerius said, by a group of interested citizens who are mostly veterans of the Vietnam War era.

The fundraising campaign launched last month, and Valerius said at least $275,000 needs to be raised by the community to meet the $325,000 goal.

“The Fairfield Twp. Trustees have committed $50,000 to start off the fundraising campaign,” he said, adding that donations received prior to November are helpful to enable ordering the granite for the memorial’s monuments.

By law, the township can’t contribute any more to the veterans memorial.

Fairfield Twp. Trustee President Shannon Hartkemeyer said the township’s participation in the project is a “sacred duty.”

During the groundbreaking ceremony Thursday, the late John Carboy, an original member of the committee and Marine veteran, will be honored.

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Each of the five military service branches will be recognized by images on a laser-etched granite monument, and the branch’s flag will fly above it. The backsides of the monuments will recognize POW/MIAs, Gold Star families, other veterans from Fairfield Twp. and financial donors.

Granite benches tracing the history of wars and conflicts will line the memorial’s perimeter.

At the groundbreaking, local illustrator Gayle Cobb will take pre-orders of her book “The Sacred Gift,” and proceeds will benefit the memorial project. Donations can be made to the Fairfield Township Veterans Memorial Fund at the Fairfield Community Foundation. The foundation can be reached at 513-829-6355.

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