Kaye Jordan would tell you it’s not how you start that’s important, but it’s how you finish. The Gold Star mother can see that finish line in relation to her efforts – and others – when it comes to the fundraising and the construction of the Veterans Memorial at Soldier Spring Park.
On Jan. 24 hundreds gathered at a local eatery, Shep’s Place, in support of Gold Star Families, pledging to support the project, just $25,000 short of completion.
By the end of the night the goal was almost reached. Jordan was stunned when local businessman Matt Milligan said he would donate $10,000 toward the project. Just prior to the event another man, Al Micallef, said he would match donations up to $10,000. With those two contributions, plus others taken in during the evening, the group was just shy of meeting their goal.
“We’re very thankful for those supporting us,” Jordan said. “In return they are making it possible for our boys and other veterans throughout Parker County and America, to be remembered.”
Jordan’s efforts began in 2012 but really took hold a year later when the Gold Star Families formed a non-profit. Fundraising began shortly thereafter when the group had their first fundraising event at Silverado On the Brazos in September, 2013.
Since then a foundation was formed that included members of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars. It was a coming together – under one banner – to promote the Veterans Memorial Park and generate funds for specific areas of the park, to the tune of $305,000.
“We’re separate entities working for one purpose,” Jordan said.
And work she has. In just a little more than three years, Jordan, who’s made it her mission to promote the Veterans Memorial Park every chance she’s gotten, has received donations from folks like: Legacy Alive – $40,000; Jerry’s Automotive Center – $25,000; First National Bank, Weatherford – $25,000; American War Initiative – $25,000 and the Walsh Foundation – $10,000 and Gary and Linda Snow – $5,000, to name a few.
“We’re hoping next year the Veterans Memorial Park will be complete,” Jordan said.
Weatherford Parks Director Shannon Goodman agrees.
“This spring the construction at the Veterans Memorial Park will be in full swing,” Goodman said. “With the memorial fundraising nearing completion of it’s goal we plan to continue construction until the park is complete.”
Goodman said that by winter the park should be open.
“The Goldstar families and the American Legion have done a tremendous job working with the community to fund raise for this memorial,” Goodman added. “This will truly be an asset for the City of Weatherford and it’s residents.”
Those visiting the park upon its completion will be able to admire a “Walk of Honor” built by the American Legion.
“We have completed fundraising for the first phase of Walk of Honor and have receipt of 200 donor bricks ordered by veterans or their families,” said Ron Chandler, former American Legion commander now in charge of public relations. “We raised almost $20,000 which paid for the bricks and having them laid with enough left over to provide funding toward other projects planned for the park.”
Chandler said the donor brick program is considered perpetual and self funding and that they are ready for the next order of bricks.
“The funding structure established will ensure that as long as the park is maintained as planned the Walk of Honor committee will accept commemorative brick orders and will always have funding in place to support itself,” Chandler added.
About the night’s activities, event host Jennifer and John Shepherd said they were honored to have the fundraiser at their restaurant.
“I could not have imagined such an outcome,” Jennifer said. “God provides and the memorial for our lost soldiers in Soldier Spring Park will be built with the help of some fantastic people. Our heartfelt thanks for all the donations from local businesses, you are the best.”