Veterans Cemetery nears fund-raising goal

8 years ago
By Christopher Bouchard
Staff Writer

CARIBOU — The fundraiser for a new committal shelter in the Northern Maine Veterans Cemetery is making rapid progress, and a $3,200 donation from CompetitorME has helped significantly.

The organization’s plan to donate to the Veterans Cemetery began without NMVC Chairman Harry Hafford’s knowledge, as he found out by seeing a TV commercial.

“I usually just tune out advertisements, but my wife saw it and told me that it mentioned proceeds were going to the Veterans Cemetery,” Hafford said. “I saw the ad again, but couldn’t quite find out where the donation was coming from.”

After making some phone calls, Hafford was able to contact CompetitorME Director Jon Kelley, and thanked him for the generous donation.

Kelley says that all the money came from the event, with some coming from individual contributions made via the organization’s website.

According to Hafford, the Caribou-based veterans organization is within roughly $1,500 of his goal.

Kelley was inspired to contribute.

“When you put the pieces together and realize that we have something like this in our own backyard for our own veterans here in northern Maine, it really strikes a chord,” said Kelley. “What’s more is that these families don’t have to travel to Bangor or Augusta; they can lay their husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, family members to rest here in a dignified manner. We’re really lucky to have something like this here in the northern part of the state.”

Plans for renovating the committal shelter include closing in the sides, extending the roof, and adding new benches. The low bid for the base project was $54,800, but that does not include benches and other improvements.

“We already have a few new benches in,” said Hafford. “I’m really grateful that Jon chose us. I was getting there, but this really gets us closer to the top. I’m within about $1,500 of what I need right now.”

The cemetery chairman stressed that all donations go straight to the project and that all NMVCC members are strictly volunteers and will not be paid with donation funds.

Those interested in making a contribution can contact Harry Hafford at 768-0525.