Harrison VFW Post 9328 Launches “Walk of Honor” Project

HARRISON — Laser engraved memorial bricks are on sale at Harrison VFW Post 9328!

This fundraising project is the result of many meetings and hours of work on the part of a joint committee made up of members of the Post and its Ladies Auxiliary. Moonbeam Laser Engraving of Levant has been selected to engrave bricks supplied by Morin Brick of Auburn.

The project’s goal is to raise funds on a continuing basis to help sustain the hall’s operation, maintain it as a valuable community asset, permit it to continue

to help local veterans and their families and support the many VFW programs which aid and assist active duty military and their families as well, said Brian Spaulding, commander of the Ronald G. St. John VFW Post 9328.

In addition to the Post hall, example bricks and order forms will soon be placed in public displays at Harrison locations to be announced. Committee Chairman “Muffett” Crowell would also like all who are interested to know that one does not have to be a veteran to buy a brick! Nor does a veteran have to be a member of VFW Post 9328. Any and all veterans anywhere and active duty men and women anywhere are also eligible. Crowell added that, in addition to members of VFW Post 9328 and its Ladies Auxiliary selling the bricks, members of Harrison American Legion Post 139 will also be selling the bricks. Legion Post 139 Commander Steve Wentworth is contacting all Post 139 members with his message to support this project.

The bricks, once engraved and received by the Post will be securely stored until the ground thaws. An area around the Post flagpole will then be prepared for the resting place of the 4-inch by 8-inch and 8-inch by 8-inch bricks, offered by Post 9328 to memorialize a veteran, veterans, and military units, as well as acknowledgement of active duty military men and women currently serving in defense of our country.

The Town of Harrison has also tentatively approved the proposal made by VFW Post 9328, for those who would desire it, to have their veterans/active duty brick placed in a designated area at the Harrison Town Library Veterans Memorial.

Plans are for a walkway at the Post to connect the flagpole area with the hall’s main entrance. Once the flagpole area is filled, bricks would be placed in this walkway. Here will also be placed bricks bought to acknowledge “civilian” individuals and businesses who have supported the two Posts in the past. Two sizes of granite blocks, donated by Walk of Honor Committee Chairman Crowell are also available for businesses to buy to continue to support the Post. The 12-inch by 12-inch and 12-inch by 24-inch blocks, once in place at Arlington National Cemetery, have been freshly sand blasted and are ready for engraving. Contact Muffett at 809-4605 for additional information.

Those interested in the Walk of Honor are asked to also visit the Post website at: www.vfwpost9328.org where more details are available, together with pictures of example bricks and an order form, which can be printed out, filled out and returned to the Post.

Also, be on the look out for one of the public displays or if you know a VFW Post 9328 member or member of the Post Ladies Auxiliary or a member of American Legion Post 139, please contact them, if you have questions before ordering a brick. Alternately, you may e-mail the Post at: info@vfwpost9328.org

Although these are difficult economic times, it is hoped that people in the local communities and those familiar with Harrison but live elsewhere and, perhaps, once lived here, will buy a brick. Family members could join together or friends could do the same to keep their shared cost more in line with their budget. The committee has tried to keep the cost to a buyer or buyers down to, hopefully, something not unreasonable in these pressing times.

“Rest assured, too, that a memorial brick purchased for your veteran, loved one or friend, who was a veteran, will be properly maintained and cared for at all times. Be certain, too, that the funds raised will go a long way toward the Post’s exterior and interior beautification goals, as well toward its maintenance, operation and veterans/active duty assistance goals,” Spaulding said. “The Post is several decades old and, in many respects, needs to be brought up to contemporary standards in order to satisfactorily meet the expectations, not only of Post members, but also those who would like to rent the hall for their function.”

He added, “In these times, the Post recognizes that a lot has already been done in support of the Post by volunteers and asking more of them and others now is perhaps perceived as asking too much. We all know it's often a difficult time for nonprofit charitable organizations, but these are particularly difficult times. Post 9328 is very grateful for the efforts and interests of so many who have stepped up in past years and, especially, in recent years to help the Post.”

There are many volunteers and supporters to thank. One particularly is VFW Post member and Legion Post member Jim Toner, a disabled Harrison Vietnam vet who can’t make the Post meetings because he is at his ill wife’s side every evening. Jim, nevertheless, makes up a batch of biscuits and country gravy for every Post Sunday breakfast and prepares and cooks the pancakes, too. And during the day, he helps out at the Post with maintenance issues, most recently installing shelves in the kitchen and currently building lockable closets to stow tools, cleaning gear and Post records so the Coat Room will be a Coat Room and not a catch-all room.

Then, too, there is the Post’s most unsung hero, Henry Hudson of Hudson Concrete in Harrison, who, for several years, has been plowing the Post parking lot after every snowstorm without ever asking a dime.

“Henry, we can’t begin to tell you, although we will try, how much your generosity and concern means to us. Many, many thanks, Henry!” Spaulding said.

VFW Post 9328 was almost given up as a ghost of the past only a few years ago. Because of people like Jim, Henry and Hank Dumont, Hank’s family and Lou Bernier’s family and so many other friends and neighbors, like the Harrison Lions Club, Mike and Joyce Morrissette, Lisa Villa, and Gair Mackenzie and especially Ladies Auxiliary members, including Judy Colburn, Phyllis Stanton, Bev Martin, Muffett Crowell and Cindy Moxcey, have refused to give up on a simple place that means so much to so many, the Post is surviving when others in Maine have closed their doors.

“A few names have been mentioned here at the risk of upsetting many others whose names are not mentioned and should be. Please forgive what could possibly be taken as an intentional slight by this writer, for a full page of this newspaper would not fully accommodate the list of names and contributions of all who should also be mentioned,” Spaulding said.

In the past couple of years, the Post has received many donations, such as refrigerators, stoves, a microwave, a laser copier, a dishwasher just to name a few that have made “all the difference.” Most recently, the Post was given a pool table and an air hockey game. Members recently traveled to Augusta to attend State surplus property sales, saving many dollars by buying padded chairs at $5 each for the Post meeting room (shhhh! the Ladies Auxiliary members will want some of those padded chairs next!).

“It is hoped that the Walk of Honor project, among other projects ongoing at the Post hall, will make the citizens of Harrison proud, not only of its living veterans and, of course, especially its veterans who paid the ultimate price, but also proud of Harrison itself,” Spaulding said. “The recent surge of interest in ‘saving’ the Post almost arrived on the scene too late. The doors came close to being closed, sold to the highest bidder and the tired, but venerable, old building chocked full of sentiment and memories, faced being torn down to make room for some purpose possibly less useful to the town and its neighbors. It is hoped, too, that as future years slip by, the young and old now and the young and old then will appreciate the hall and its premises being available for so many possible events at low cost to its members, other non-profit organizations and as an alternative meeting place for local businesses. Hopefully, too, other veterans will be inspired to join this proud Post and others, the Ladies Auxiliary and, possibly some day a Men’s Auxiliary, too.”

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