A coalition of civic leaders with a track record of success has joined forces with the Freedom Memorial Foundation to finish the monument on Golden Gate Parkway.
The Freedom Memorial, in the shape of an unfurled American flag and made of granite, is a cornerstone of Fred W. Coyle Freedom Park east of Goodlette-Frank Road, near the northern end of the new Gordon River Greenway.
Since breaking ground in 2009, saluting 9/11 victims as well as past and present veterans and first responders, the project encountered obstacles including the recession and the lack of federal tax-deductible status for donors, which has now been resolved.
Now, backed by new civic resolve and a lead contractor, Todd Gates, donating much of the construction work, the Freedom Memorial, designed by Naples resident Gerald A. Ladue, is back in the spotlight and seeking donations.
A leader of the revival, Naples Mayor John Sorey, points to the unfinished monument’s location at a key community gateway and asks: “Do you agree with me that this reflects poorly on our community?”
There are 3 ways the public can help:
- Buy a memorial paver for $100 or $300 engraved with the names of donors or loved ones. The pavers will join others already installed as permanent parts of the Freedom Memorial.
- Make a donation. Donors of $1000 or more will have their names permanently engraved on plaques at the Freedom Memorial. The $100,000 donor level is aptly named: Hero
- Purchase tickets or sponsorships to a February 20, 2015 patriotic celebration – Remember, Respect, Honor – Forever! – at Freedom Park to, officials hope, put the fundraising campaign over the top. Tickets are $250 and $500, including dinner catered by Shula’s Steak House.
For more information, please call (239) 254-3169 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We thank you for anything you choose to do to help complete this visible symbol of our community’s patriotism,” Sorey says.
Original Freedom Memorial members still working on the project are Jerry Sanford, Greg Speers, Reg Buxton, Rich Gibbons, Rosalie Rhodes and Sam Cadreau; other planning committee members include Bill Barnett, Scott Cameron, Keith Dameron, Thomas Donahue, Fred Franks, Blake Gable, Todd Gates, Dudley Goodlette, Richard Grant, Frank Halas, Homer Helter, Murray Hendel, Clark Hill, Alan Horton, Dick Klaas, Jerry LaDue, Jeff Lytle, Ed Morton, Mauriann Patterson, Ursula Pfahl, Mike Reagen, Jim Rideoutte, Dave Trecker and Dolph von Arx. Bob Dibenedetto and Richard Grant are providing pro bono CPA and legal help, respectively. Laurel Meny and Cyndee Woolley are volunteering for publicity. Bigham Jewelers is donating graphic design labor. The Naples Zoo is donating web hosting, design and support.