Gibson City veterans memorial receives state award

GIBSON CITY - The Drummer Creek Veterans Memorial on Gibson City's west side has received a 2009 Governor's Home Town Award.

The veterans memorial is near Illinois 9, at the southeast corner of Drummer Cemetery on Gibson City's west side. It was dedicated on Veterans Day last year.

The memorial cost $125,000 and was paid for entirely with donations.

According to project treasurer Sharon Craig, more than half the money came from veterans and their families paying to have a name engraved on one of the black granite slabs, or on a brick paver. The balance came from significant donations from patrons such as the Lee Lowery American Legion Post 568 of Gibson City and area merchants, and also from a $50,000 grant by the Gene and Helen Hool Trust.

Those eligible to be honored include veterans who served in any of the nation's five services – Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard. The front sides of all five markers are now filled with 500 names. Organizer Randy Ferguson said a recent update added about 25 names to begin filling the back sides.

Ferguson said the initial idea for the memorial came from a discussion with Gibson City Mayor Dan Dickey and Gibson City Alderman Dennis Pardick.

"It's the least we can do to honor our veterans," said Dickey of the project. "We hope the memorial will be a constant reminder now and to future generations of their sacrifice and dedication to preserve our freedoms."

Ferguson said other Gibson City residents have volunteered significant time to the project including Denny Troyer, Dave Schmidt, Tony Denney and Craig. He also praised an idea from John Bell to raffle a car and said that idea alone raised $17,000.

Governor's Home Town Awards have been presented annually since 1983 for volunteer efforts. The 2009 awards will be presented on Oct. 29 at the Governor's Mansion in Springfield.

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