Orange County BOC to match up to $15,000 in donations for veteran memorial

The Orange County Board of Commissioners added $15,000 to their 2017-18 budget to match donations for a future Orange County Veterans Memorial.

The memorial has been in development for five years, and recently the board decided to make it an Orange County Memorial rather than just a Chapel Hill memorial. The project will honor those who have or are currently serving in any of the U.S. Military branches. 

Whether given by large groups or individuals, the memorial is funded by community member donations that are tax deductible. The Orange County Board of Commissioners will match the donations up to the $15,000 they allocated in their budget. The Veterans Committee is hoping to make the memorial a communal space with walking trails and exhibits. 

The project should be finished in about a year if donations are given at the same rate, said Lee Heavlin, a retired Master Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy and a member of the Veterans Memorial Committee.

The committee is composed of veterans of World War II, Korea, Vietnam and Iraq; the group meets on a regular basis to discuss funding and design of the memorial. 

The board allocated three acres at the Homestead Site on the Southern Human Services Campus in Chapel Hill. Families and friends have the opportunity to honor a loved one by donating to engrave a brick on the walkway with their name or veterans group.  

Board of Commissioner Barry Jacobs said matching donations makes community members a greater part of the building process. 

“I personally reply more readily to fundraising by nonprofits if they tell me every one of my dollars will be matched by someone else because my dollar goes farther and has more of an impact,” Jacobs said.

Orange County has thousands of people who served in the armed forces. In addition, the growing ROTC programs at UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke prepare young students to serve in the armed forces. Commissioner Renee Price said the memorial will last generations.

“These men and women, some never make it back home and some who do have mental and physical issues that they have to deal with so it’s worth it it’s definitely worth it,” Price said.

The Veterans Memorial will have a dedication ceremony on November 10 at 11 a.m.


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