As September nears, volunteers involved with the 9/11 World Trade Center (WTC) Memorial Monument in the Town of Highland continue working to complete tasks and to raise the necessary funds to establish the community site. But can it be done?
Planning for the project began when the town learned it would receive a steel І-beam artifact from the WTC. A task force was formed and has completed design work, lined up artisans, masons, landscapers and laborers and begun raising funds.
Steel sculptors Janet Rutkowski and Walter Kenul have created a monument that will be the centerpiece of the memorial park. The project also includes the restoration of town memorials honoring veterans and members of the armed services. Five separate stone tablets will be erected for those who served in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and for all others who have served America.
So as not to compete with the many events already scheduled for September 11, the public is invited to join together in Eldred on September 10 at 6 p.m. for the dedication of the 9/11 WTC Monument. An additional dedication for “Heroes’ Park,” which will include the remaining five monuments, has been scheduled for November 11.
With less than a month remaining before September 11, half of the funds necessary to complete the project have been raised. According to town supervisor Andy Boyar, who is serving as chairman of the task force, pieces of the project are coming together as supporters step forward offering help in various ways. The project is proceeding with faith in the generosity of community members and a great deal of donated time, materials and services.
From the beginning, supporters have emerged as if they were meant to. Most recently, Ron Coldone, a professional sign maker, approached Boyar to offer his services in donating signage for the memorial. Electrician Hermann Wyss will contribute his expertise and developer Steve Dubrovsky will take care of the special low-energy lighting being installed. Ziggy Sarna installed the concrete footer, while highway superintendent Norm Sutherland and other highway workers have donated many hours of their own time; excavator Jim Akt transported the huge bluestone base; Tom Kuck obtained the pavers and wall material; Nick Roes and Dorene Hanson have taken on fundraising; and countless others have just “showed up” to help, said Boyar.
Despite such generosity, funds are still needed and volunteers recently gathered to stuff envelopes for a community-wide fundraising effort. “Even though we have volunteers, we will still have $22,000 in hard costs,” said Doreen Hanson, secretary of the group.
Boyar added, “Building a monument like this takes a lot of commitment from many people but it also takes money.”
People can support the project by making a direct donation or by purchasing an engraved “memory brick” to remember or honor a loved one or to memorialize a donation. The brick will be engraved according to the donor’s wishes and will be made a permanent part of the memorial pavilion.
Donations can be sent to Town of Highland WTC Memorial Fund, Inc., Dept. 911, P.O. Box 91, Eldred NY 12732. Online contributions can be made at http://highlandwtc  memorialfund.com. For more information call Boyar at 845/557-8319.