Several months ago, Doug Bishop helped launch the Jasper County Veteran’s Memorial Fund and Commission Committee in an effort to have two new veterans’ monuments, placed on the Jasper County Courthouse grounds.
“We’ve had our official fundraiser kick-off,” Bishop said. “Joel Jones at Hy-Vee Gas had us pump gas out there for a couple of hours on Friday. We had veterans from Korea, Vietnam, (Operation Enduring Freedom), (Operation Iraqi Freedom) and Dessert Storm pump gas for two hours. They raised just a little over $1,000. That’s a pretty good run and very good way to get started.”
The kick-off is the first step toward raising the estimated $55,000 to $60,000 needed to complete Bishop’s vision for the future Jasper County Memorial Complex, which will be entirely self-funded.
“(It’s) kind of a two phase memorial,” Bishop said. “I don’t know if you have seen the Freedom Rock down in Greenfield, but it’s kind of the same principal. We’ve located a stone that is about 8-feet high and 10-feet wide, and we are going to put it on a 15x15 slab on the eastside of the courthouse.
“Then it is going to be painted every year with murals, to the different branches of the service during war time periods,” he continued. “That’s going to represent all veterans in Jasper County.”
The memorial that will be placed on the south side of the courthouse will utilize bricks in the design, and the committee is selling them for $100 each.
“We are also going to do a wall-style (design), with two wings that are 16-feet long with a black granite memorial in the middle,” Bishop said. “It’s going to be placed across the existing memorial on the south side of the courthouse.
“We will also have sponsorships available for $500,” Bishop said. “Sponsor names will be permanently displayed on a bronze plaque at the base of the memorials. These funds will be used for the concrete, granite memorial and benches. It is also our intent not to charge for any bricks of veterans who were killed in action.”
The applications for bricks will be available in both the Daily News and Jasper County Advertiser until Nov. 8, and Bishop has already had a great response.
“I’m steady getting phone calls saying, ‘I want a brick, I want a brick, I want a brick,’” Bishop said. “We anticipated doing a wall that held 350 bricks. That’s probably not going to be enough. So, we kind of have a plan B we put together. We really want to do this right. We want everybody included that would like to be included.”
The qualifications to purchase a brick are that the veteran or active duty service member lives in Jasper County. Applicants also must complete an application and have either DD214 papers or an honorable discharge.
“We have families that are doing it,” Bishop said. “My entire family, my grandpa, is World War I. My dad and his brothers were all World War II, Korea or Vietnam (veterans). We are going to list everybody all the way across, $100 a brick.”
No other fundraisers are set in stone yet; however, Bishop said Newton American Legion Post 111 will offer some freewill donation dinners.
The committee includes volunteers and a few “Red Shirts” from the Jasper County Freedom Flight Committee, and Bishop is grateful to them and all the donors.
“We had a crazy idea a little over four years ago that we were going to try and raise $50,000 and send some World War II vets to D.C.,” Bishop said. “From that, the (JCFF) committee and process was created. In the last three and half to four years, we have sent 550 Jasper County wartime vets to D.C.”
“This is kind of our transition to keep ourselves busy and honor our veterans,” he continued. “The (JCFFC) is fully engaged in this and will be handling all the fundraising. Red Shirts will be out in full force raising the money. But we are going to do this right. There is going to be a great and forever living memorial tribute that have served both before us — and that are gone — and those who are still with us.”
Staff writer Ty Rushing may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 426, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.