Thursday November 21, 2013
Formally honoring the service and sacrifices of Veterans became a reality last week, as the installation of South Burlington’s Veterans Memorial reached completion. The Memorial is a prime example of a collaborative community effort at its best.
While the Memorial is the product of many dedicated people working together for a common cause, its origin came in the shape of one simple question. Nearly four and a half years ago, resident Jay Zaetz approached then City Manager Chuck Hafter with an inquiry: what does South Burlington offer to honor its veterans?
In the Beginning
Zaetz was directed to then Director of Parks and Recreation Department Tom Hubbard (now Deputy City Manager). Together, they formed the Veterans Committee in which dedicated members worked to create a memorial to forever commemorate those who have served.
After careful planning and review, the committee approved the three monuments which now grace the Veterans Memorial at Dorset Park today: an over sized dog tag, a 10 ft.cylinder commemorating the theaters of wars, and a large granite monument with the American eagle emblem and insignias of all branches of service.
In the summer of 2012, resident Lisa Levite introduced a new dimension to the memorial with the Pathway of Honor pavers project. This part of the project offered the community an opportunity to personalize the memorial, something that struck home for Levite. Her grandfathers are veterans of World War I, her father, father-in-law, and various uncles are World War II veterans, her brother served in the Air Force, and her brother-in-law retired from the Navy after 26 years.
“I wanted a way to honor them here, locally, and I thought having engraved pavers would be a great way for me, and for others, to honor the Veterans in their lives.”
The Veterans Memorial Committee took the project on board, had the plans for the memorial re-drawn to include the pavers in The Pathway of Honor, and the committee began selling the pavers in the fall of 2012.
While many inscribed pavers are already in place, there are still blank pavers available for purchase and personalization, and the project will continue until the last one is sold. Order forms are available on the Veterans Memorial website www.sbremembers.org, the South Burlington Park and Recreation website, or at the Recreation Department at City Hall, 575 Dorset St.
Costs for the memorial required no money from taxpayers, the project was entirely funded through cash and in-kind donations. To date, the committee has raised almost $180,000, according to Zaetz. About $100,000 came in as cash donations and paver payments, and approximately $75,000 came in as in-kind donations. All funds went directly to the memorial.
The Veterans Committee placed boxes at businesses along Williston Rd. where individuals could drop their loose change. Larger donations were made to the Memorial Fund which was administered by the South Burlington Recreation Department.
Whether it was pennies or thousands, all donations made toward the project led to the appropriate funding needed for its inception. Many in-kind donations were made; specific businesses and contributors are listed below.
Funding is still encouraged for the project for landscaping and ongoing maintenance, Zaetz said. Checks may be made out to the City of South Burlington Veterans Memorial Fund and mailed in care of the SB Recreation Department at City Hall, 575 Dorset St. Donations can also be made online, via PayPal at the Veterans Memorial website www.sbremembers.org,
Today, people can visit the site at Dorset Park across from Cairns Arena. Walking toward the site, the first monument is the large, stainless steel dog tag with the inscription “Pathway of Honor for All Veterans” on its face. Local artist Kirk Williams designed the monument.
A large, granite monument is next in line. Bordered by the service insignias with the American eagle emblem at its center, the inscription reads: “The citizens of South Burlington dedicate this memorial to all veterans who have served our country with honor. All Gave Some and Some Gave All.”
The final monument is the 10-foot steel cylinder with names of the theaters of wars carved out. The cylinder, designed by South Burlington resident/designer Robert Vogel, pours shadows of the carved words on the stone base when the sun hits the monument and is visible at night with appropriate lighting.
All three monuments sit on the curving brick Pathway of Honor, in which commemorative pavers have been cemented.
Tom Hengelsburg, project manager at Dore & Whittier Archtitects says, “The designers packed a lot of meaning into that small area. It’s a pathway of remembrance. There are sections of movement (walking) and places to rest and contemplate. At the end, you turn around and it gives you another perspective, a recall.”
“This is very special for the community,” Zaetz said. “It’s very rewarding to see that all the hours and labor put in, are now a reality.”
“Our goal right along was to create not just a place, but an experience as well, for people to come and honor all our Veterans,” shared Tom Hubbard, deputy city manager and a member of the Veterans Committee. “We believe we’ve been able to achieve that, and the excitement that is building within the community with the construction of this project is indicative that they are both pleased and proud of the work that has been done.”
“Many, many people made this possible and we are most grateful for all the efforts and contributions, financial and otherwise, to bring this project to fruition,” he added. “What a wonderful and meaningful amenity to bring to an active public park!”
There will be a dedication ceremony and ribbon cutting ceremony with special activities May 17, 2014, Zaetz said.
A special thank you goes out to all the individuals in the community who donated toward the cause. The project would not have reached its current success if it weren’t for the community, Zaetz shared.
SOURCE: Miranda Jonswold, Correspondent