By Pete Banda
The San Benito Veteran’s Advisory Board has started their first ever KIA/MIA Memorial project fundraiser. The project is looking for at least 10 people to donate $5,000 to reach their goal of $50,000. Once the goal is reached, construction will begin on five new granite monuments to built at the San Benito War Memorial, one dedicated to each of the last major wars. Those missing or killed in action will have their names engraved onto the statue.
In an effort to kick-start the campaign, Charlie Wilson, the Vice Chairman of the Veteran’s Advisory Board, along with his wife Bertha, have made the first pledge towards the program, promising to donate $5,000. Wilson explained his desire to see these monuments built.
“People have a natural ability to forget who made their way of life and who preserved it for them,” said Wilson. “These monuments will serve as reminder that we will not forget those who gave their life to protect ours.”
Wilson, who along with his wife owned the Roller Rink in San Benito for 27 years, noted that the program is currently seeking out pledges to reach the $50,000 mark before construction begins on the monuments. It’s also worth noting that project from the War Memorial are usually funded exclusively through this kind of fund-raising, though this particular program is the first of it’s kind.
“We’re going to wait until we reach our goal for the entire project before we start construction on any of it,” said Wilson. “Hopefully we reach out goal sooner rather than later.”
A second citizen, Rosanna Aguilera has also pledged the desired amount towards the program.
Once the $50,000 for this project is coplete, the Veteran’s Baord is expected to shift all their attention to their other fund raising campaign, aimed at collecting money for the many new Veteran’s parking signs across the City.
For more information, please contact any of the Veterans Advisory Board members as follows: Victor Garza, Chairman: 399-7464; Charlie Wilson, Vice Chairman: 399-5763; Ovidio Gonzalez: 399-5807; Pilar Vega: 456-7117; Jesus “Chuy” Aguilera at 536-7185; or Veterans Board Liaison Martha McClain at 361-3804, Ext 301.