Tribute tiles available for NMVC Walls of Honor

12 years ago
Aroostook Republican photo/Barb Scott
Harry Hafford, chairman of  the Northern Maine Veterans’ Cemetery Corporation, displays a model of one of the tribute tiles, now available for purchase through the corporation. The tiles will be placed on the Wall(s) of Honor at the cemetery.

By Barbara Scott
Staff Writer

“So many people in northern Maine have veterans in their family whom either live or have been interred out of the state and now at least these family members can be recognized and honored by having their name placed on the Wall(s) of Honor at the Northern Maine Veterans’ Cemetery,” stated Harry Hafford, chairman of the cemetery corporation.

“Eight or nine years ago,” said Hafford, “Dale McGlinn and I were trying to come up with an idea that would allow all veterans to be honored including those still serving in the military; those who have served and those not interred at the NMVC. At first we thought of constructing a brick walkway with names of veterans or of those currently serving in the military but after researching this idea, we realized that frost would cause quite a problem.”

Two years ago the groundwork and the four walls (cement forms) were completed. At this point the project is now ready to go forward with tiles available for purchase, inscribed and put into place on what will be granite-covered walls.

During the March 28 meeting of the Northern Maine Veterans’ Cemetery Corporation Hafford presented the completed plan for the veterans’ Wall(s) of Honor for approval. Members approved the final step of the project and following an approved application, veterans and family members are encouraged to purchase a tile and have their family member recognized on the Veterans’ Wall of Honor.

According to officials “As the NMVCC continues to be mindful of its mission to bring awareness to the Veterans Cemetery-Caribou and provides options for a respectful final resting place for all honorably discharged veterans and/or active service personnel, they have listened and are now responding to requests from veterans to construct a series of Walls of Honor for veterans with each branch of service being honored with its own structure and tiles as a tribute project to beautify the cemetery and to honor all veterans and active service personnel.”

“The four Walls of Honor will each hold 304 tribute tiles,” stated Hafford, “Our goal is to sell 1,200 tiles which cost $100 each, this helps cover the cost of any possible repairs/damage, as we are responsible for the maintenance of anything put into place on the cemetery grounds.”

“This is not a fundraiser,” emphasized Hafford, “if something is damaged — we have to take care of it along with maintaining its conformity to the rest of the cemetery plan — the state does not provide the funding to keep these projects in good repair.”

The Walls of Honor are open to all veterans with an honorable discharge (living or deceased), all active duty service members and National Guard men and women, regardless of place of residence.

One wall has been established for each branch of service — the U.S. Army, Air Force, Marines and Navy. The U.S. Navy wall will also include tiles bearing the names of members of the U.S. Coast Guard and Merchant Marines. Names will be placed on the walls in the order (date) they have been received beginning with the top left tier of the applicable wall. The tiles are 4-inches by 8-inches with a maximum of 14 letters per line.

The price of the title is $100 and will contain the veteran’s, active service member’s, and/or Guardsman’s last name, first name, middle initial and the branch of service with service dates.  

Hafford also stated that those families who purchase more than one tribute tile should understand that the tiles must be submitted at the same time, in regard to placement on the respective walls. “There is a strong possibility that additional Walls of Honor will be constructed in the future, of course depending on the response we receive. The final part of the project will be to have a paved walkway at the site of the walls. The pavers would be the same as those, which are located around the columbarium walls,” he said.

Proof of service is required for each tile. Acceptable proof of U.S. military service documents include: DD214; an honorable discharge certificate; a current VSO card; certificate of eligibility for veterans cemetery; an active service member ID; National Guard member ID; and/or other types of proof of honorable service.

Hafford stated that he would be more than happy to speak to area civil groups, senior citizen organizations or veterans’ groups who would be interested in learning more about the Veterans’ Wall(s) of Honor. “I (we) really can’t stress enough that the Northern Maine Veterans’ Cemetery isn’t just a ‘Caribou’ facility — it is for all veterans and their families,” he said.

Applications for the NMVC Tribute Tiles are available at the cemetery located on the Lombard Road in Caribou; the Henry B. Pratt American Legion Post Home on Sweden Street; the Lister/Knowlton VFW Post, Van Buren Road, Caribou; or from NMVCC members.

For more information contact Hafford at 435-6024; D. McGlinn at 498-6042; Linda MGlinn at 868-2298; or Fred Ormezzani at 551-6921.