Additional funding for the first phase of the proposed 9/11 Tribute Memorial was realized with a $6,000 contribution from the El Pomar Foundation on Monday, March 20th. The philanthropic organization donated the funds to the local Memorial Foundation through Rachael Patrick, Small Business Development Executive Director for southeast Colorado.
Members of the committee were on hand to receive the check which will cap the initial phase of the memorial project, to be built on land owned by Prowers County and located due south of the Big Timbers Museum. Doug Harbour estimated this latest donation puts current funding at $30,000 which will go towards the cost of the project to honor first responders and members of the United States military.
The idea of a basic community show of appreciation was developed several years ago with a simple 90 minute observation on the north steps of the Prowers County Courthouse. That gathering, which honored the first responders to the World Trade Center on 9/11, had about 100 people on hand and has now grown to a full day of activities including an hour long parade which honors the military, past and present, fire and policemen and women, EMT’s and others who are first to arrive at emergencies to serve their community.
The Tri State 9/11 Foundation decided to create a lasting memorial to honor those responders and have been working to raise funds and awareness to bring it to completion.
Plans have been developing for the annual September parade for 2017 in Lamar which precedes the day’s activities at the Prowers County Fairgrounds. Two new displays have been discussed including the Colorado Springs Mobile Vet Center. Harbour said he was contacted by the Prowers County Veteran’s Service Administrator, Gary Harbert, who had spoken with representatives of the Mobile Unit. The Centers are equipped as “offices on wheels” which are used as a site to provide counseling to veterans. They are self-contained for power, feature satellite communications systems, Wi-Fi and video conferencing equipment which are put at the veterans’ disposal during a community visit.
Another display will be a helicopter used during the Vietnam War beginning in 1965. It’s a UH-1 (M) Huey Gunship, a combat veteran which flew for three years in Vietnam during the war. The official website is at www.hvhinc.org. As a Gunship, #0-59495 engaged in battle in support of ground troops and outpost locations under attack, and during rescue and extraction actions. It also flew routine escort missions, providing gun cover and support for unarmed troops and supply-carrying helicopters, as well as “dust-off” evacuation flights. Its armament consisted of: 4 each 7.62mm, M-60A2 side mounted machine guns, 2 each 7.62mm, M-60 machine guns, door mounted, 2 each Rocket Pods, each Pod contains 7 each 2.75” folding fin aerial rockets.
The helicopter and Mobile Vet Center will be on display during the parade on September 9, 2017 and at the Prowers County Fairgrounds later that day.
By Russ Baldwin
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