County, city donate $20,000 to Havre de Grace Gold Star Families memorial

The Havre de Grace Mayor and City Council held a brief check presentation ceremony Tuesday for the city’s planned Gold Star Family Memorial Monument.

Mayor William Martin presented a check for $10,000 in city funds, and Harford County Executive Barry Glassman presented $10,000 from the county, both to support fundraising efforts to design and build the monument. An additional $868 was raised by selling tickets to the city’s oyster feast.

“We’re very excited about this coming to fruition,” Martin said.

Planned in Concord Point Park near the lighthouse, the purpose of the Gold Star Families Memorial Monument is to honor Gold Star Families who have lost a loved on in defense of the United States and to preserve the memory of the fallen, city officials said.

The estimated cost of the monument, which would be the first of its kind in Harford County, is $65,000, according to city government spokesperson Adam Rybczynski said.

Taking place in the check presentation, in addition to Glassman and Martin, were former county executive and Havre de Grace mayor David Craig; Harford County Commission on Veterans Affairs member and past chairman Johnny Boker; Craig Reeling, commandant of the Marine Corps League Maryland Detachment; and Maj. Gen. Randy Taylor, senior commander at Aberdeen Proving Ground.

“This could not be done without the assistance of the county and the city,” Boker, chair of the monument committee, said.

Reeling, committee co-chair, said the organization has reached about 63 percent of its fundraising goal, including the $20,000 contribution from the city and county.

“We are still fundraising, and we are accepting donations,” he said.

The committee will accept contributions from corporations, community organizations, veterans groups and families, Reeling said.

The committee is putting together ideas for the rear of the monument, which it will present to the mayor and City Council, Reeling said.

The designs engraved on the rear of the monument will reflect the themes on its four panels – sacrifice, patriotism, family and community, he said.

The front will be the same as other Gold Star Family Memorials around the country: four polished black granite blocks, with a cutout of a saluting soldier between two of them and gold letter inscriptions that read: “A tribute to ... Gold Star Families and Relatives … who sacrificed a loved one for our freedom.”

The Mayor and City Council passed a resolution in 2016 authorizing that a suitable location be found for the monument, which would be the first of its kind in Harford County. A groundbreaking was held on Sept. 11 at the Concord Point site.

The committee projects a dedication date of Father’s Day, which is June 17, Reeling said.

Gold Star Families Memorial Monuments are a project of the Hershel “Woody” Williams Medal of Honor Education Foundation. Williams, a World War II veteran who earned the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military decoration, during the battle of Iwo Jima, has committed to attending the Havre de Grace monument dedication, Reeling said.

Glassman said he was making the county’s donation in honor of three veterans who serve on the Harford County Council – Councilmen Curtis Beulah and James McMahan and Council President Richard Slutzky.

“They’re our three veterans on the County Council, and I certainly want to recognize them as part of this effort,” Glassman said.

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