The World Wars I & II Veterans Memorial Committee needs your help honoring the men and women from Peoria County who fought bravely during World War I and World War II. The Committee’s been working diligently to raise funds for a long-overdue memorial to be constructed on the County Courthouse grounds. The memorial, featuring three limestone-clad columns representing the Roman numerals I and II, will display the names of Peoria County veterans who gave their lives during the wars. More than 20,000 men and women from Peoria County served during the two great wars and more than 600 died preserving the freedom we enjoy as Americans.
A generous community of individuals and local businesses has donated $532,000 to the memorial as of mid-July, but rising construction costs find the committee still short a disheartening $321,000. Reluctant to compromise the integrity of the memorial to save on cost, the Committee is appealing to the community again and urging you to thank a vet by donating to the Memorial Fund. Upon drafting this article, the Committee set out to raise $175,000 by August 20. At publication, we hope to have met more than half. To boost fundraising efforts for construction of the memorial, Peoria County government is matching all donations collected through August 20 by 100 percent, up to a total of $200,000. Caterpillar Inc. is matching all donations for the same time period by 50 percent; 100 percent for employee and retiree donations. Thus, for every dollar you donate, an additional $1.50 will be contributed; $2.00 additional for Caterpillar employees and retirees. Clearly, there’s no better time to donate to the Memorial Fund.
In addition to the three columns, the World Wars I & II Veterans Memorial will feature a brick foundation to serve as a personal memorial for anyone wishing to purchase a brick. Brick memorials are not limited to honoring veterans; inscriptions can include names, service information, a personal message, quote, or other appropriate text. Bricks are available in two sizes: 4 x 8 inches for $100 and 12 x 12 inches for $400. Money collected by the sale of bricks also will be matched by Peoria County government and Caterpillar Inc.
Monetary donations of any denomination can be made by visiting the Peoria County Auditor’s Office at the County Courthouse downtown or by calling 672-6006. All money donated goes toward construction and maintenance of the World Wars I & II Veterans Memorial. For more information on the memorial project, call Committee Chairman Steve Sonnemaker at 672-6006. Please consider thanking a vet today by donating to the Memorial Fund. IBI