Indian Trail Post needs to raise more than $20,000 in less than two months
Indian Trail’s Veterans of Foreign Wars Post finds itself in need of help. In less than two months, the group needs to collect $40,000 to cover the cost of hosting the “Moving Wall” Vietnam memorial.
“We’re about at $19,000 right now, not even halfway,” Post Senior Vice Commander Brian Boze said. “The last time we hosted the wall, we had ten months. This time around, we were told six months before.”
The “Moving Wall” was created in 1984 as a way for people who couldn’t travel to Washington to pay their respects to the soldiers who gave their lives for the country in Vietnam. The town will host the memorial June 14 to 18. Indian Trail last hosted the memorial in 2007, when 35,000 people attended, Boze said. This time, he estimates about 50,000 will visit. Boze himself served as a captain in the Army for Operation Iraqi Freedom, stationed in Kuwait and later in Iraq.
A smaller timeframe means things have to happen quicker. For example, a paved walkway needs to be built in Veterans Memorial Park, which is where the memorial will be displayed, behind the Post at 100 VFW Lane. Boze said he’s hopeful construction can start on that next week. In addition, because the memorial is open to the public 24 hours a day, they have to hire contract sheriff’s deputies to help with crowd management and also contract with EMS in case of any injuries. All the printed materials and handouts have to be at the printing press by the end of March, in order to be finished in time.
“We’re still trying to get the word out and raise funds,” Boze said. “The town of Indian Trail graciously donated $7,500. The majority of the rest has come from individual donations.”
Since speaking to the Indian Trail Town Council in January, Boze and his fellow VFW members have
gone around the area, giving presentations to civic groups and government bodies. But realizing there wasn’t enough time to reach every business before time ran out, Boze and his staff accepted help from the Indian Trail Business Association, to drum up support.
“They’ve been a great help to us with this,” Boze said. “We could spend hundreds of hours going to individual businesses to get donations, but we don’t have that kind of time. The Association can get multiple businesses organized and help coordinate efforts.”
He pointed to a fundraiser at Bruster’s Ice Cream earlier this month that ITBA helped organize. In addition, the organization will hold its monthly meeting at the VFW Post Wednesday, March 14 at 6:30 p.m., with Boze as the focus of the night. He’ll give a presentation, explaining what the Post needs to everyone in attendance. The meeting is open to anyone who’s interested in helping the VFW, regardless if they own a business or not. ITBA also has another fundraiser schedule for April 11, a wine tasting to be held at Bonfire Grill.
“We owe it to these guys to lend a hand,” ITBA co-founder and Indian Trail council member Robert Allen said. “I graduated in ’76, the fall of Hanoi was in ’75. These guys never got a ticker tape parade, no thank you for your service. It’s important that we honor their service with this
In addition, the Extreme Ice Center also volunteered to host a fundraiser for the Moving Wall, later this month.
“The VFW approached us about utilizing the (Extreme Ice Center) for a fundraiser after working with us for the Great American Snow Day last July,” Brandy Mills, Extreme Ice Marketing Coordinator, said
“We are always ecstatic to help our neighbors in Indian Trail to accomplish a goal. This memorial means a lot to them, so it means a lot to us.
On March 18 at Extreme Ice, 50 percent of all paid admission from 12:45 to 4:20 p.m will be donated to the VFW Post.
On March 30, Kate’s Skate will host a fundraiser, offering reduced admission for the day. The Post will sell t-shirts and take donations throughout the day. Then throughout the month of April, Ace Automotive will give a donation to the VFW for every car serviced.
Those who can’t attend any of the fundraisers can also stop by the VFW Post and purchase a t-shirt. The group is selling regular sizes for $10, and those extra large and above for $12.
The memorial will arrive in the area on June 14, where it will first be part of an official “welcome home” ceremony at Charlotte Motor Speedway, for the surviving Vietnam veterans. Then at 2 p.m., soldiers from the VFW will escort to to Veterans Memorial Park in Indian Trail, where it will stay until June 18.
Any residents who want to donate or offer any type of assistance can contact the VFW at 704-821-9753 or visit the website at www.vfwpost2423.com. Also, those interested in attending the ITBA fundraiser March 14 need to email firstname.lastname@example.org, as they need an estimated count for the event.