Work and fundraising on the Lyons Veteran's Memorial project continues.
The Lyons Veterans Committee will host a Ham and Bean fundraiser on Saturday from 4 p.m.-7 p.m. to raise money for the ongoing project.
Buck Mullis, who serves as committee president and bean dinner organizer, says the money raised Saturday will be applied directly to the upcoming work that is starting in April.
"We need to purchase drainage materials, sand, mortar and concrete in order for the masons to start laying the lasered bricks and for us to prepare the walking areas. We are so excited to start this phase of the project and we just hope the weather will cooperate for us to be able to get continuous days of sunshine and warmth to help cure the bricks, mortar and concrete, Mullis said. "In addition to the bricklaying work, we still need to run a new electrical wire for the town's information sign, remove the sod and replace it with fill dirt, grade and prepare the dirt area, set the forms and pour all of the concrete. Once the work starts, it will be a lot of different projects happening in succession to one another and will quickly make a vast difference in the look of the Memorial. It will really start coming together once we have all of the pieces starting to fall in place.
The fundraiser Saturday is open to the public and will feature a menu of ham and beans, cornbread, fried potatoes, dessert and drink.
Cost is donation only.
Serving will begin at 4 p.m. and continues until 7 p.m. or until the food has been depleted.
Mullis says the to $250,000 fundraising project that started four years ago is still about $10,000 short.
"We really hope for a great turnout at the donation-only dinner because we still need about $10,000 to be able to buy what we need to get the project to the next phase. The costs of materials have jumped quite a bit from when we first started this project but we just keep praying that our costs will be covered by donations so we can keep from having to borrow any money to complete the project. The laser has been a blessing as it has not only allowed us to prepare the bricks ourselves but has also presented opportunities to create other items that we can use for future fundraising efforts so we can maintain the monument once it is finished," he explained.
Mullis says the big monument stone is in place, located near the Lyons Town Hall building.
The monument will feature bricks that contain the names and branch of service sign from about 1,500 veterans coming from Washington, Stafford, Grant, Fairplay and Smith townships.
The memorial will contain the names of veterans dating back to War of 1812, who have had a local connection.
Mullis and others have been busy burning the laser information on bricks and have about 400 to 500 remaining to complete the 'known' list of veterans. Mullis said the list will continue to change and the names of more veterans are forwarded to the committee and with new enlistees.
"We're real pleased with how things are going. I don't think we could ask for it to happen any better," he said. "This has been a big project. Will it ever be done? No, as long as we have a military to defend this country, we'll always have veterans...we're honoring them."
The project actually started four year ago as a Boy Scout troop project, which grew and was handed over to the veteran's monument committee.
Mullis said he's been impressed with the support and financial backing that the monument project has generated.
"The towns, the communities, have really backed us
Buck's wife, Judy, who serves as secretary of the committee added, "The whole project has been quite exciting and extremely touching to see how much we all still love and support our veterans. The team of veterans we have on our committee has been absolutely wonderful to work with and their heart-felt determination to help us finish the monument has been nothing short of amazing. When we realized we had over 1,500 names, we were just in awe that so many of these brave men and women had been, and continue to be, such a vital player in our country's security and history."
Buck is hopeful that the current phase of the project can be finished by June and be able to enter into and finish the final phase before our Annual Veterans Appreciation Dinner being held on Nov. 8, when the dedication will take place.
"Completing the memorial before September would be fantastic because we can then finish our planning for an awesome dedication ceremony," he said.
If you can't attend the dinner Saturday, you can still make a contribution to the memorial, by mailing a check or money order to: Lyons Veterans Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 38, Lyons, IN. 47443. You will then receive a response that can be used for tax donation purposes.