2015-10-11 / News

Vets Bell Memorial marches forward

By Jeanne Marcello
Staff Reporter


LEADERSHIP – Dr. James Stewart (left) and Charles Persons (right) continue to promote the Veterans Bell Memorial at Barber Memorial Park in Montrose Township. Both men have been recognized by the Jennings Memorial Foundation for their efforts in this project. Funds are still needed to finish the interior of the memorial. (TCC Photo by Jeanne Marcello) LEADERSHIP – Dr. James Stewart (left) and Charles Persons (right) continue to promote the Veterans Bell Memorial at Barber Memorial Park in Montrose Township. Both men have been recognized by the Jennings Memorial Foundation for their efforts in this project. Funds are still needed to finish the interior of the memorial. (TCC Photo by Jeanne Marcello) MONTROSE TWP. – The Veterans Bell Memorial is taking shape at Barber Memorial Park. On Sept. 1, contractors poured cement into the octagonal carved trenches forming the footing for the structure. They’ve since worked on the cement block foundation, and were in the process of installing the flooring during the week of Sept. 21.

The memorial will be home to a six foot tall stainless steel bell, along with individual memorial tributes honoring those who served in the U.S. Military.

Approximately 10 years ago, Charles R. Emmendorfer began building the giant stainless steel bell to honor his fatherin law Richard A. Valet, who served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. When Valet passed away, Emmendorfer learned about the terrible ordeal Valet suffered as a prisoner of war for two years. Emmendorfer decided to honor his father-in-law by building a giant stainless steel bell. It took more than two and a half years to make it. After he finished, the bell weighed more than a ton. It was so large that it was difficult to find a place to house it.


UNDER CONSTRUCTION – Workers from Steven Morse Construction assemble the sides of the pavilion that will hold the giant stainless steel bell, commemorating military veterans. (TCC Photo by Jeanne Marcello) UNDER CONSTRUCTION – Workers from Steven Morse Construction assemble the sides of the pavilion that will hold the giant stainless steel bell, commemorating military veterans. (TCC Photo by Jeanne Marcello) Local veterans have been raising money to build a pavilion structure to house the memorial. The memorial will honor all veterans, including active duty veterans, reservists and National Guardsmen.

The groundbreaking took place in June of 2013. In 2014, the site was relocated to the front of the park to make it fit better with the park’s master plan. They continued to work on fundraising for the project.

Earlier in 2015, the Veterans Bell Committee was encouraged to get the project started even though they have less than half of the funding needed.

Former chairman Dr. James Stewart said, “We still need donations to finish.” They’ve raised $60,000 so far. They still need to furnish the inside of the memorial with flags, case lighting, security and so forth. Wayne White is the new project chairman.

There are 350 veterans who are among the first to be honored at the memorial. “We expect to have thousands. It’s going to be an ongoing project,” Dr. Stewart said. It’s a $50 donation to honor a veteran.

There is a sign at the site of the memorial with information about honoring veterans. People can go online to download the form to make a donation at www.vetsbell.org. Donations can also be mailed to: Veterans Bell Memorial, P.O. Box 317, Montrose, MI 48457.

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