SUNBURY, Ohio (AP) — The father of a veteran who died in combat after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks is working with others to secure permanent funding for an Ohio memorial dedicated to fallen soldiers.
Jim Bernholtz and other Gold Star parents and veterans groups helped create the Ohio Fallen Heroes Memorial in Sunbury in 2005 to remember those who’ve died since 9/11.
Bernholtz and others worry that the privately funded site near the village’s town square could fall into disrepair, The Columbus Dispatch (http://bit.ly/2cEDecJ ) reported.
“We are all going to pass away,” said Bernholtz, whose son, Eric, was killed in Iraq in 2005. “And who is going to take care of all of the properties?”
Bernholtz, the president of Ohio Fallen Heroes Memorial, is seeking support, including grant funds from Delaware County commissioners, to set up a legacy trust fund.
They are trying to raise as much as $1 million, the interest from which would support the memorial’s annual $25,000 maintenance costs and about $600 to install each new marker.
There are currently 283 white marble markers honoring Ohioans killed in combat during the war on terror. The site has room for about 50 more before reaching full capacity.
“Terrorism isn’t like World War II,” said Neal Kruse, a Genoa Township man who became involved in the memorial in 2006 after a family acquaintance was killed in combat. “I don’t know if it will ever end.”
Kruse, Bernholtz and others are hoping to appeal to businesses.
“Once you lose this generation of parents and siblings, we still have to maintain this. And I don’t know if the next generation will be as interested,” Kruse said.