PUBLISHED: Saturday, July 23, 2005

Iraq War memorial in the works


Sun Community Editor

A monument for all soldiers who have served and died in the Iraq War will be unveiled at Island Park in Mt. Pleasant in September.

Efforts to put up the statue started after 2003 Mt. Pleasant High School graduate Lance Cpl. Justin M. Ellsworth was killed Nov. 13, 2004, while serving in the war.

"It's not only about the soldiers lost, but about those serving,“ said Linda Fabian, of Rosebush, who is leading the efforts to get the monument approved. "This is about everybody, but Justin is the one who didn't come home and gave the ultimate price.“

Tentatively set for a 1 p.m. Sept. 3 dedication at Island Park, the monument will read "In honor of all who have served in Operation Iraqi Freedom Operation Enduring Freedom. Never forget those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. In memory of LCPL Justin M. Ellsworth USMC Charlie Co. 7th ESB Combat Engineer 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion.“

A bronze field cross with a 20-foot flag, the monument's plaque will be removed and names added should other local soldiers die in the war.

"The monument is for all the soldiers, but on this day it needs to be Justin's day,“ Fabian said.

To get the statue and have the plaque made in Mt. Pleasant, Fabian said she needs to raise $7,500.

The plaque will be made by Simply Engraving in downtown Mt. Pleasant and should take two to four weeks to arrive. It was ordered July 12.

"We need the money now to get the monument paid for,“ Fabian said.

Getting started raising money July 19, Fabian raised $769 in just that one day.

"We've already had a good response from people,“ she said.

In her one-day of work, Fabian received donations of $100 each from Total Lee Sports in Mt. Pleasant, Rosebush resident Beth Hovey, R.E. Hovey Construction in Rosebush, Clare resident Bob Engler, as well as a $200 anonymous donation, and $169 from Evergreen 4-H. Evergreen is also holding a car wash from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 20 at Dynamic Car Wash in Mt. Pleasant to raise funds for the monument.

Construction expenses also can be high, but Fabian has found help there.

Alma Concrete/Central Concrete with employee Kyle White will be delivering cement on site and donating 100 percent of the cost, while J.C. Concrete and Joe Crawford will do all the labor for free.

"I'm on a mission and will make this happen for Justin's family,“ Fabian said. "I'm just going to keep calling and making contacts.“

A golf fund-raiser is also planned for Aug. 21 at Pleasant Hills in Mt. Pleasant.

The Justin Ellsworth Memorial Golf Outing is a four-person scramble flight event.

Cost is $60 per person and teams must have at least one female player, Fabian said.

The golf event is limited to 25 groups of four and if everything goes right, Fabian said they should profit $5,300, which includes sponsorships of the 18 holes and entry fees.

Reservations for the golf fund-raiser can be made by calling Mike at Pleasant Hills at 772-0487 or Fabian at 433-2297.

Anyone wanting to make a donation to the monument can do so at an account set up at Isabella Bank and Trust locations. Checks should be made payable to the "Justin Ellsworth Memorial Fund.“

Not knowing Ellsworth's family until his funeral, Fabian said she has one objective with this project.

"I just want his family to know Justin will never be forgotten,“ she said.


Last modified date and time: 09/04/2005 16:29

09/04/2005 16:43