Georgetown Veterans Memorial to become a reality, construction to begin soon

cbyun@thesunnews.comDecember 10, 2013 

  • Honoring veterans

    What: National Wreaths Across America Day

    Why: Honor veterans killed in wars by laying wreaths around the park, dedicated to families of veterans and members of the active military.

    When: Saturday, 10 a.m.

    Where: Francis Marion Park Veterans Memorial, 800 Front St., Georgetown

Georgetown veterans are one step closer to a memorial dedicated to every military veteran from Georgetown County who died during any of America’s wars.

The Veterans Memorial, which will sit between the current Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6444 and the new American Legion Post 114 on Church Street, will be made of granite and stretch about 80 feet long. Ten flag poles will be placed along top of the structure, flying the flags of all military branches, along with the VFW and American Legion flag.

Names of all identified Georgetown County military veterans who died during any of the country’s wars will be inscribed on the memorial, and both organizations are still collecting names.

Thanks to a $75,000 donation by Georgetown Memorial Hospital, the structure can now be a reality, said Martin Alfonsi, post adjutant for American Legion Post 114.

In 1949, the American Legion raised about $300,000 to build the original hospital, as well as provided the original ambulance service for the county. That relationship has grown over time, and the donation strengthens the historical link.

“There’s a close bond between veterans and the hospital in Georgetown,” Alfonsi said.

Though the land between the two organizations is currently just a patch of grass, Alfonsi expects construction to start later this winter or early next spring. The hospital’s donation is enough to get started, but the organizations are starting a nonprofit organization that would have title over the land, just in case either the VFW or American Legion moves locations in the future.

“It occurred to the city that if either one of those two organizations moved, and the property is sold, the new owner would have the legal right to tear their side of the memorial down,” Alfonsi said.

The third party nonprofit will hold the title to the land and also oversee construction of the wall. Alfonsi said the VFW and American Legion Post are waiting on the nonprofit status to be approved, and then construction will start.

Both organizations have raised about $5,000 so far, chipping away at the estimated price tag of $350,000, though Alfonsi said the official amount is unknown.

“Our major fundraising will begin when people start seeing the construction,” Alfonsi said, adding that a walkway of bricks will be laid around the base of the memorial and for a donation of $100 or more, your name or the name of someone you wish to honor will be inscribed on a brick laid in the walkway.

Alfonsi encourages all county residents to look through old family records, Bibles and photographs to make sure the organizations have the names of everyone who passed away during the wars.

“That’s my biggest fear – that we’re going to miss somebody,” he said.

For more information on the memorial, visit www.georgetownvets.com.

Contact CLAIRE BYUN at 626-0377 or follow her at Twitter.com/NeckNews.

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