Donations make ‘big boost’ toward building hero’s memorial plaza

FLINT TWP. — A proposed Hero’s Plaza on the drawing board since 2007 moved closer to reality with a $6,000 donation this week.

Bruce Hill, CEO of HealthPlus of Michigan, presented a check for $5,000 to the Township Board of Trustees at its Monday night meeting to go toward building a memorial plaza honoring members of the armed forces and the local fire and police departments.

Hill was accompanied by three HealthPlus officers including former township trustee Vernon Burns, a HealthPlus board member, who made a personal donation of $1,000.

Burns spoke of a longtime affiliation with present and previous township officials to get special projects done.

“These people have been like family to me forever,’’ Burns said, referencing Kim Courts, township clerk and former township supervisor Galen Jamison, whose daughter Tracey Tucker is the township’s economic enhancement director. Tucker also is spearheading fundraising for the plaza.

“When Tracey came to me and asked for some contribution to this memorial, I went to the chairman of the board and said we need some help,’’ Burns said of the HealthPlus donation.

“It shows what you can do in a community with everyone working together to get things done,’’ he said. He also said the memorial is dear to his heart, not only because he is a veteran but because it advances the vision of Jamison, who died in 2007, in conceiving it.

“I will be back to help Kim and whomever to build this memorial,’’ Burns pledged. “It is very important that this memorial gets built for this township.’’

Tucker called the donations “a big boost’ and said she hoped to be able to compel donor activity to get some part of the plaza up.

The HealthPlus donations brings the fundraising total to about $20,000 of an originally estimated $50,000 needed to build the plaza, she said. The actual cost likely has increased since the plaza was first proposed.

A construction timeline also has changed because many of the volunteers and donors depended on to get the project done are now preoccupied with trying to stay in business because of the economy, Tucker said.

The township’s Harvest Festival, a primary fundraiser for the plaza, was canceled this year due to difficulties with a carnival company but a new one has been chosen and plans are on for next year’s festival in August, Tucker said.

A drawing of the proposed plaza is posted on the township’s website along with donation forms. It depicts a red-white-and blue emblem surrounded by markers and walkways recognizing those who served honorably in the Army, Marines, Navy, AirForce, Coast Guard, Michigan National Guard and Flint Township police and fire departments.

Tucker said more donations are welcome. Checks should be payable to the Charter Township of Flint and mailed to Flint Township Hero’s Plaza. C/O Trustee Tracey Tucker. Charter Township of Flint, 1490 S Dye Rd Flint, MI 48532. For more information, call Tucker at 810-600-3234.

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