The names of more than 300 veterans who once called Waterville home will soon be etched in stone.
A core group of volunteers with the Veterans Memorial Committee have been working away at having a monument erected in Waterville for at least two years.
“It’s a small committee but our heart is big – big for veterans. We’re just thankful for what they have done for us,” said member Ruby Lawrence in a recent interview.
Lawrence is optimistic the Waterville Veterans Memorial monument could be standing on a plot of donated land by the local post office as early as November 2019.
“We are determined that we are getting this done,” she said.
“If we don’t do it now, it’s not going to get done. That’s what we think, and we just want to see it up.”
Pastor Christina Bigelow was the first to get the ball rolling on the memorial project. Lawrence was thrilled to get involved in the collaborative effort to ensure the names of local veterans are prominently displayed for decades to come.
Church documents, newspaper records, knowledgeable locals and informative relatives all had a hand in helping the committee compile a list of names to feature on the monument.
“Most veterans were not highfalutin people, they were very humble. They were very down to earth,” said Lawrence, who noted that she was surprised to learn that several people she knew from the area once served and she had no knowledge of their military background.
The majority of the veterans to be featured on the monument served in the Second World War, but others served in the First World War, Korean War or the Boer War. Merchant Marine and Vietnam veterans will also be recognized.
“This is a significant memory project for our veterans,” said Lawrence, who added that the idea is to honour those who boldly signed up to serve.
“I don’t think there will be another project of this enormity happening again and we wanted to make sure that those who did serve were honoured.”
The monument alone is estimated to cost $17,000, with additional fees associated with installation and groundwork. The committee is aiming to raise in the ballpark of $12,000 if all goes as planned and applications for grant money are approved.
The committee is fueled by a collective desire to see local veterans rightly honoured for their military involvement.
“I just believe in Canada. I love Canada and I’m thankful for the veterans – we all are. We’ve got that in our hearts,” said Lawrence, a former legion president in Labrador.
There will be a musical variety show at the Waterville & District Fire Department’s hall April 7 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. to raise funds for the ongoing monument project. The lineup includes performances by various artists volunteering their time to support the cause: Lost Vegas (Vinny and Julie), Ruth Manning and Graham Moorehead, Frank Spinney, Frank Dobbin and Graham Moorehead, Hughie McDonnell, Greg Hamilton and The Others.
“This is going to be a reality,” said Lawrence.
For more information regarding how to get involved or support the cause, contact Lawrence at 902-375-2021 or firstname.lastname@example.org.