Battle Ground seeks donations to honor war dead

At least $150,000 in labor, cash, materials needed to complete memorial

By Ray Legendre, Columbian staff writer

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Veterans Memorial Project

The Battle Ground Parks & Recreation Department has the permits and designs to build a memorial to the city's fallen war heroes in Kiwanis Park.

Now, all it needs is donations — lots of donations — from money to materials to labor, Parks Director Debbi Hanson said, to begin the "moving of earth" necessary to launch the project's next phase.

The Battle Ground Parks & Recreation Department has directed the Veterans Memorial project since its conception in 2008, researching which Battle Ground-area residents died in wars and where such a memorial would be erected. The department received building permits for the project this summer.

The genesis of the Veterans Memorial was the death of Army medic and Battle Ground resident Andrew Shields in Afghanistan in 2008.

"It raised the question 'How do we honor these people?'" said Mike Ciraulo, the city's mayor in 2008 and a current city council member.

The answer? A memorial wall including the names of at least 32 service members from the Battle Ground area who died in armed conflicts dating back to the Civil War. The wall will include only the names of the war dead, not donors to the memorial project, Ciraulo said. The parks & recreation department is accepting names of troops killed in combat.

The memorial would also include five benches to represent the five branches of the U.S. military and three flagpoles representing the United States, Washington and Battle Ground. Flowering cherry trees would serve as a backdrop.

The project will be paid for entirely through donations, the city council decided, in order to have a grass-roots feel. It's difficult, then, to predict when the project will go from the design phase to building phase.

"It would be nice if we got done by the end of the year," Hanson said. "That all depends on how quickly we're able to secure donations for services and materials."

Around $3,000 in cash has been donated to the Veterans Memorial project thus far, Hanson said. That does not includes businesses donating their expertise in design and development, electrical plans, and geotechnical surveys, she noted. The Parks Foundation of Clark County set up an account to manage donations for the project.

Hanson estimated between $150,000 to $200,000 in cash, materials, and labor donations a re needed, but she noted there were fund-raisers happening in upcoming weeks that would likely shrink the gap.

Aug. 9: Bunco (dice) party, 5:30 to 9 p.m. at the Battle Ground Community Center. Call 360-342-5380 for ticket information.

Aug. 28: City businesses will place yellow ribbons in front of their buildings and donate part of their sales that day to the memorial project.

Sept. 20: Wine-tasting at Rusty Grape Vineyard, 16712 N.E. 219th St.

Oct. 8: Oktoberfest at Mill Creek Pub, 1710 S.W. Ninth Ave.

Ray Legendre: 360-735-4517; http://facebook.com/raylegend; http://twitter.com/col_smallcities; ray.legendre@columbian.com.