Veterans' Memorial gets a much needed push

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By Carolyn Ten Broeck, Editor

Two large contributions and a lot of hard work by a few dedicated volunteers have pushed the fund for a Veterans' Memorial past the original goal.

Three years ago, when the Williston Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) first conceived the notion of a memorial, donations were slow to come in and the bricks that honored veterans were only purchased sporadically.

In March, David Wilson, himself a veteran, told the CRA he was "saddened and embarrassed" by the lack of a memorial.

Media coverage and Wilson's own tenacity, coupled with that of Dr. Ken Schwiebert, CRA chairman and also a veteran, launched a campaign that two months later has brought in almost four times the amount of money that was in the fund Jan. 1 of this year.

Brick pavers are sold almost daily and individuals and businesses alike have made "Patriot" donations – those of $200 or more.

William Rees got the ball rolling with a donation of $8,500. A week later, an Ocala businessman, called the Williston Chamber of Commerce and said he would match, dollar-for-dollar, all donations made in April.

The man said he was not making the offer for recognition, but simply because it was the right thing to do.

"We need to get this thing built," he said.

This past Monday, he made good on his pledge, calling the Chamber to find out the amount of his check.

Although some funds trickled in after the call, he said a check for more than $6,000 would arrive this week.

Donors were generous throughout April, contributing hundreds of dollars in Patriot donations and purchasing bricks.

To date, over 190 pavers have been purchased for the memorial.