PIQUA — Veterans’ Memorial patriotic banners will be coming to downtown Piqua this spring and summer to both honor veterans and raise funds for the Veterans’ Memorial.
“The reason we began this program, which was almost a year ago … we’re looking at ways to fund the Veteran’s Memorial at Broadway and Washington,” Jim Roth, superintendent of Forest Hill Cemetery and Arboretum, said.
“It’ll be similar to the veterans bricks,” Jessica Stein, administrative assistant of the Piqua Area Chamber of Commerce, said.
People can purchase a banner to hang in downtown Piqua in honor of someone who has served or is currently serving in the Armed Forces. Each banner costs $200 and will feature a photo of the veteran or person currently serving in the military, that person’s name, their branch of the military, and their rank if they so desire.
The fundraiser is a multi-agency collaboration between Forest Hill Cemetery and Arboretum, the Piqua Area Chamber of Commerce, and the city of Piqua. The Veterans’ Memorial Committee, particularly volunteer Jim Robinson, have also contributed to this project.
“We’re currently raising funds for the memorial itself,” Stein said.
“It does take funds to maintain the memorial park,” Scott Miller, president of the Piqua Area Chamber of Commerce, said.
The idea came about as they and the Veterans’ Memorial Committee were looking for ways to fund maintenance of the memorial, as well as to earn funds for other projects involving the memorial. Miller explained that the nearly 4,000 bricks at the memorial were recently re-stenciled. There are also grassy areas near the memorial that they are looking to fill in with more bricks.
“We are raising $20,000 to remove the grass and put in bricks,” Miller said, adding that they have approximately $12,000 raised for that goal so far. The plan is to put in another 4,400 to 4,800 bricks, Miller said.
They also partnered with Home Depot last year to clean up the memorial, including around 20 associates putting down mulch and cleaning up the flower beds.
Roth also has the goal of creating a virtual reality video of the memorial in which a drone will fly around the memorial and a narrator will talk about the history of the memorial.
Piqua Teen Leadership of the Piqua Area Chamber of Commerce is also working with Stein on listing and mapping the location of each of the bricks.
Roth is hoping to combine the virtual reality video and the map of the bricks. “My goal is to some day … tie that list into the website, and it’ll actually show you where that brick is,” he said.
The importance of funding these projects and the continued maintenance of the memorial is for the benefit of the public.
“There are people at this Veterans’ Memorial every day,” Roth said.
“Our Veterans’ Memorial and Park is a real asset to the community,” Miller said. “It’s a way to honor those who have served in the military. Family members are banding together to get these banners.”
Roth emphasized that, “It’ll be anybody. As long as you have served, you can get a banner.”
The banners and/or bricks can be purchased by contacting the Piqua Area Chamber of Commerce or Forest Hill Cemetery and Arboretum. The Piqua Area Chamber of Commerce is located at 326 N. Main St. and can be contacted at (937) 773-2765. Forest Hill Cemetery and Arboretum is located at 8660 State Route 66 and can be contacted (937) 773-2614.
Reach Sam Wildow at [email protected] or (937) 451-3336