First phase of newest Butler County veterans memorial to be done by Veterans Day

Pictured is an artist’s rendering of the planned veterans’ memorial at Heroes Park in Fairfield Twp. PROVIDED
Pictured is an artist’s rendering of the planned veterans’ memorial at Heroes Park in Fairfield Twp. PROVIDED

Fairfield Twp. Trustee Joe McAbee said the veterans’ memorial project at Heroes Park is “more important than anything we’ve done.”

The eventual 67-foot-diameter Fairfield Twp. Veterans Memorial will take years to complete, but the site work is underway for the latest Butler County memorial to honor those who not only served in the armed services but died in service to the country.

There are about 24,000 veterans living in Butler County and multiple memorials that pay tribute to the veterans, including Veterans Memorial Park in the city of Fairfield, the county’s Soldiers, Sailor and Pioneers Monument in Hamilton and Veterans Memorial Plaza in West Chester Twp. Many of Butler County’s veterans are interred at either Greenwood Cemetery or Woodside Cemetery.

“As far as I’m concerned, it’s more important than anything we’ve done,,” McAbee said.

The veterans’ memorial project “finally grew some legs,” he said after years of false starts dating back to the late 1990s. “A lot of work has gone into it and now we’ve got the momentum going,” he said.

The first phase of the four-phase project will focus on the center of the memorial, said Fred Valerius, the fundraising chairman of the Fairfield Twp. Veterans Memorial Committee. Phase 1 focuses on the nine-foot-diameter stone and granite planter that will feature a flagpole surrounded by granite fixtures featuring the names of veterans killed in action and other Purple Heart recipients.

A stone wall will make up the planter, capped by a granite bench with the Pledge of Allegiance engraved along its edge. Phase 1 is expected to be completed by Veteran’s Day in November, said Valerius.

“The effort for honoring the service and sacrifice of our veterans becomes more cast in stone with the arrival of this granite but that challenges us with the great deal of work and fundraising needed to complete the project,” he said.

Phase 2, which will be completed in 2022, will install five monoliths that will honor the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard, and recognize the donors, honor MIA/POWs, Gold Star families, and veterans.

Eventually, Valerius said this will be a memorial that will not only attract people from the township, but the county and region.

The purchase of five monoliths was part of Phase 1 but they’ll be etched honoring the five branches of the military and installed as part of Phase 2 in 2022. Eventually, the memorial will also incorporate flag poles representing the branches of the military and granite benches recognizing military conflicts.

Veterans who received the Purple Heart, and veterans who resided in the township before or during their service, or moved to the township after their service, can receive name plaque free of charge, according to the committee, and can sign up at fairfieldtwpvets.com.

About $120,000 has been raised thus far, but Valerius said they need a little more than $200,000 to complete the project. Fairfield Twp. Board of Trustees has contributed $50,000, which is the most the local government is allowed to donate by state law.

Warren County-based Laser Imaging and Design is engraving the granite for the project.

“We have done large national monuments around the country, but we are very excited about this one in particular since it will be the largest one we have produced this close to home,” said Jim Smith, owner of Laser Imaging and Design. .”

Tax-deductible donations for the project can be made at the Fairfield Community Foundation. Donations toward the Fairfield Twp. Veterans Memorial Fund at the foundation can be made online at www.fairfieldcommintyfoundation.org.

HOW TO DONATE

There are several donation levels for the Fairfield Twp. Veterans Memorial, including:

  • $1,000 or more for an 8-inch-by-5-inch plaque
  • $500 to $999 for a 6-inch-by-4-inch plaque
  • $250 to $499 for a 5-inch-by-3-inch plaque
  • $100 to 249 for a 4-inch-by-2-inch plaque

Sponsors can donate:

  • $25,000 toward the centerpiece flagpole and planter
  • $12,500 for one of the five service branch memorials
  • $10,000 for one of the five service branch flag poles, and one of the 12 benches recognizing 12 U.S. military conflicts.

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