St. Anthony Knights of Columbus plan monument to honor veterans buried in Helper Cemetery
The Saint Anthony of Padua Knights of Columbus Council 2611 in Helper is raising funds for a monument to honor veterans who are buried in the Helper City Cemetery.
Fourteen years ago, the Knights took over from the American Legion the task of placing crosses and flags in the cemetery on Memorial Day for those who served in the United States military.
"We have designed a large rock monument that will list the names of the veterans who are buried in the cemetery and future veterans," said Charles Hamilton, a past Grand Knight of Council 2611.
The rock monument, which was designed by Worley Monument to be five feet by seven feet, will have a replica of the 1945 Battle of Iwo Jima sculpted and inlaid above a slab of cement that will contain the names of the veterans on plaques.
Hamilton's wife, Louise, and past Grand Knight Dan Cummins and his wife, Charline, also are involved in the project.
"We've run out of the space we have been allotted in the cemetery to place crosses for the veterans, so the monument is really a necessity," said Louise Hamilton.
When the group took over the project of placing the crosses and flags, there were fewer than 200 veterans buried in the cemetery, but that number has increased.
"Last year on the Friday before Memorial Day, we put up 365 crosses," said Dan Cummins. "Then, on the Sunday before Memorial Day, we added a flag to each cross. It's beginning to be a big job because it is difficult to put the crosses in the ground."
Charles Hamilton constructs the crosses out of steel and then Cummins and a group of others help paint them.
"We've also had people make the flags for us. Then we get our family members and friends to help place the crosses and flags in a space in the cemetery provided for the veterans," said Dan Cummins. "Louise scans the obituaries for veterans who have died and people notify us so that all the veterans can be honored."
The veterans who are buried in the Helper City Cemetery were either born and/or raised in Helper and remained living there or moved away, but still wanted to be buried in Helper. "We've even been pall bearers for some of the people from a lot of different states," said Dan Cummins. "There are veterans from all the different wars and conflicts."
"The veterans go back to the 1800s in the Spanish American War up to the Gulf Conflict," added Charles Hamilton.
Currently, the group has a list of all 365 veterans buried in the cemetery; their names will be engraved on plaques that will be inlaid in the monument. However, they are asking to be notified of any veteran who may not be listed. Plaques will be added each year to the wall as necessary.
"We hope to have this monument dedicated by Memorial Day," said Dan Cummins.
Donations are needed to pay for the monument. To make a donation or add a veteran's name to the list, contact Louise, 435-472-3859 or 435-650-0540. Or donations can be made through any Wells Fargo Bank branch under the name "Helper Veterans Monument Memorial."