Dorr Township's veterans memorial (Photo provided)

Hamilton seeks to honor veterans with memorial

By: 
Elizabeth Abbott, writer

A new veteran’s memorial is being planned for Hamilton coordinated with Heath Township.

After seeing Dorr’s Veterans Memorial, Helen Zeerip of Teddy’s Transport in Hamilton proposed the idea of a Hamilton Veteran’s Memorial to the Heath Township board on Veterans Day 2018.

Its design will be based on the Dorr memorial and is proposed at nearly 60 feet in diameter, paved in the shape of a star. Flags at each point of the star will represent each branch of the military, with an American flag and a Prisoner of War flag in the center.

Five large memorials in the center will display text from the Gettysburg Address, the Constitution, the Star-Spangled Banner, the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence.

Hamilton residents may purchase paver bricks in two sizes or sponsor benches to support the memorial. Zeerip’s vision is to see every brick filled, which would honor more than 600 veterans.

The goal of the memorial is to honor those who have given their lives for the country, those who have served in the military, and those who are currently serving in the military.

Zeerip’s personal ties to veterans make this project close to her heart.

“My grandfather, Sy Walters, served in World War II,” she said, “and two of my uncles, Robert and Roger Walters, served during/in Vietnam, plus many more in our community.

“I can’t do much to thank them for their service, but I can do this!”

The community has stepped up with donations, already raising more than half of the $85,000 necessary to build the memorial.

The memorial will be located near the Heath Township hall, accessible to the public and veterans within the community.

“Our community loves its veterans,” Zeerip said. “I just love our community; I can’t brag about them enough.”

Two excavating companies from the community have already offered their services to build the memorial, and Russ Beckley, a flag-setter with many personal ties to the military, has offered to do all of the flags.

Zeerip wants this memorial to reach beyond a small corner of Hamilton.

“I want it to be all inclusive—all the townships, all of the school district, all of the community in the Hamilton area,” she said. “I just want to give honor to all of the veterans.”

Annette Manwell, Zeerip’s executive assistant, said, “It takes grassroots efforts to make sure our veterans really do know that we citizens appreciate their service.”

Donations for the project may be sent to the Allegan County Community Foundation, which is handling funds for the project. Checks may be made payable to the Allegan County Community Foundation with “Hamilton Veterans Memorial” in the memo line, P.O. Box 278 Allegan, MI 49010.

Contact Elizabeth Abbott at (269) 673-5534.

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