Thursday, October 28, 2021

Veterans’ Memorial Fundraising Committee

The Veterans’ Memorial Fundraising Committee has reconvened to consider future enhancements to the Veterans’ Memorial, and will raise funds to support future Memorial projects. Lee Rubenstein will continue as chair of the panel. Rubenstein is a Vietnam era Veteran, a former Commander of the local VFW Post, and chaired the Traveling Vietnam Wall Committee. He was recently honored by the Marco Island City Council for his service to the community on veterans’ issues.

Other members of the reconvened Committee include: Bill Duncan, Lee Henderson, Don Hopkins, Bryan Milk, Carole Roberts (cochair), Ray Rosenberg, Mike Stapleton, and Keith Wohltman. They represent the various branches of the military; local veterans organizations (the Marco Island VFW Post, the Coast Guard Auxiliary, and the Civil Air Patrol); families and friends of veterans; as well as the Parks and Recreation Department. The Committee will be seeking community input throughout their deliberations and at public meetings.

The Veterans Memorial is the centerpiece of the Veterans’ Community Park. The first phase of the Memorial was dedicated on Veterans’ Day – 11/11/11. Now the Committee is taking on the challenge of designing and developing Phase II. A more extensive site was initially approved as part of the Veterans’ Community Park’s Master Plan, but was scaled back because of the weak economy. While some may think that the Veterans’ Memorial is complete and not in need of enhancements, Committee members have discussed the importance of and the ongoing nature of such memorials. Committee member Bill Duncan noted that, “The Veterans’ Memorial won’t be done until the last American has come home from the battlefield.”

As part of its responsibilities, the Committee will raise funds for all future enhancements. Marco Islanders are reminded that the sale of inscribed pavers and military branch medallions is ongoing, and they are encouraged to contribute to the Memorial now. Applications are available at the site of the Veterans’ Memorial, as well as by calling Patty Mastronardi at 239/389-5035. Funds raised by the Committee will be held in a restrictive account by the City of Marco Island, and are tax deductible to contributors. Questions should be directed to Chairman Lee Rubenstein (marcoump@)aol.com).

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