Activities, Events and Progress
Orion Veterans Memorial
The Orion Veterans Memorial Remembers

Monday, May 31, 1999--Our Memorial Day celebration took place at the site of the future Memorial despite cloudy and threatening skies.  Our Chairman, Dr. Joseph A. Mastromatteo, organized an impressive occasion with many dignitaries contributing to its success.  The volunteer participation of vocalists and trumpet players from the Lake Orion High School as well as a full color guard consisting of VFW and American Legion participants made the occasion a very memorable one.  Senator Mat J. Dunaskiss spoke to us all as did our Township Supervisor, our Chamber of Commerce President, and Commissioner Lawrence A. Obrecht.  Larry Pawley, Sgt.-at-Arms, presented an explanation of our Pledge to the Flag; and impassioned words were spoken by Joe Zikewich about his experiences aboard the U.S.S. Lexington in World War II and the proposed Peacoat Monument.  A 10-Gun Salute and the playing of Taps created a reverent and respectful atmosphere for the reading of a message sent to us from Senator Robert A. Dole.  His words directed to our project were and will continue to be an inspiration to us all as we progress toward the final stages of our development.

Delays continue to occur relative to securing our Building Permit, which is necessary to obtain prior to the commencement of construction.  We find ourselves impatient to begin, but we feel satisfaction that the moment will shortly arrive.

Monday, July 12, 1999--Following an interview with Dr. Mastromatteo, the Detroit News published quite a lengthy article describing our Memorial project.  We are grateful for the request from such a major newspaper giving our project wider exposure and our Chairman the opportunity to detail our progress; we hope you had a chance to read it.

August 1999--Over the last several months, Caroline C. Chipman has volunteered and spent many hours converting our handwritten donor records to computer files.  This system assures greater accuracy in maintaining organization as well as creating a time-saving facility for correspondence, mailing labels, and financial bookkeeping.  Due to the kind assistance of the Orion Township Library, and most especially Judi Rudisill, the OVM now has an up-dated Web Site.   Caroline has begun learning the program which the library uses and is in the process of making timely information easily accessible to those of you who have internet access.  Check our link to the Donor List; it will be revised with your name as we receive your donations. 

On Monday, August 2, 1999, the OVM was on the agenda of the regular meeting of the Charter Township of Orion, Board of Trustees.   Perhaps some of you viewed Dr. Mastromatteo's request via our Channel 65 Local Access where the Board meetings are televised live.  As reported in The Lake Orion Review of August 4, 1999, the Board "Set $2,000 soil erosion bond and $29,000 performance guarantee and waived all other fees for construction of Orion Veterans Memorial."  We appreciate the time and consideration which the members of the Board gave to our request.

The Orion Area Chamber of Commerce held its monthly luncheon meeting on Thursday, August 5, 1999.  Dr. Mastromatteo invited Caroline Chipman and Ginnie Wandrie, who has contributed so much assistance to the Memorial project, to be his guests at King's Court at Canterbury.  It provided an opportunity for the members in attendance to be made aware of our progress and our need for their continued support.  It would be helpful if area businesses would be willing to post and/or distribute our information and Donor Forms on their premises.  The Chamber generously printed our Donor Form in their recent newsletter; the Orion Township Library has posted the form on their community activities bulletin board as well as allowed a stack of forms that visitors can obtain in the front lobby of the library.   We are hopeful that many others will assist in similar ways to further the awareness of our Memorial project.

Monday, September 13, 1999--We are very appreciative of the recent involvement of the Village of Lake Orion.  As of this week, the Village has generously installed a water line directly to our site property.   We are grateful to those who were involved in this project and to JoAnn Van Tassel, the Village Manager, for her assistance in this endeavor.

The month of October 1999 marks the acquisition of  the Memorial office's own computer system.  We appreciate the Chipman's generous donation of a Macintosh computer, monitor, and printer.   Caroline will continue to maintain our donor records here while seeking a volunteer who might be willing to provide assistance.  Please phone our office at 248-693-6636 if you are willing to lend some of your time.

The Veterans Day Ceremony will take place on Thursday, November 11, 1999 at 1:30pm at the Orion Veterans Memorial site located at M-24 & Odanah.  This Ground Breaking Ceremony will mark the initial phase of site construction of our Memorial.   We have now secured approval such that the work can constructively begin.
Public officials and news media will be in attendance at this momentous event.
Please join us as we embark on our worthwhile endeavor.

Though we are still far from reaching our monetary goals, we are encouraged with the number of donations that 1999 has brought to us so far.  We have found it rewarding that individuals are viewing the Orion Veterans Memorial as an annual occasion to make contribution to those who have given of themselves to help preserve the freedom that we all are able to experience today.  Little by little, our dollars rise and our Memorial becomes more of a viable reality.

We have entered the year 2000 with renewed enthusiasm for our on-going project.  The many individuals and organizations who made contributions over the holiday season has demonstrated, once again, the importance of  the memorial to our citizens.  In the midst of these frigid days, we already begin plans for our Memorial Day celebration, hoping that all of you will be joining us.

June 2003
Joe Guinn and family of Guinn Construction Company volunteered to help with the construction of the Orion Veterans Memorial.  He got Giffle-Webster civil engineers and the designer of the memorial, Leonard Else, together along with excavation details and other items before footing trenchings were dug.

July, August, September, and October 2003
Construction resumed with the Guinn Construction Company.  The site was excavated to a new grade, footing trenches were dug and concrete was poured.  David Goldberg of Aspen Building Company donated 65 yards of concrete for the footings.  Erosion control measures were constructed, and 76 feet or arbor vitae trees were planted by Brad Jacobson of Jacobson Flowers along the west line for a beautiful border.  A mason contractor was awarded a contract to begin construction on the stone walls.  Ric Goodwill of Goodwill Electric volunteered to do the electrical work.  The mechanical rooms for the electrical and water utilities were completed.

December 2003 - February 2004
The main flagpole was reinstalled with the American and POW-MIA flags and a small sign marquee installed to aid the memorial with fundraising.

April 2004
Sidewalks, curbs, gutters, de-acceleration lane, and approaches were completed.  Underground electrical conduits were installed for outdoor plugs and electrical service leading to the mechanical room was also completed.  The footings for the main monument area were poured as well as the Peacoat monument and the meditation circle seat.  The north entrance steps were poured and also the concrete thresholds between the entrance columns were completed.  The last of the 10-foot lampposts were ordered.  On Saturday, April 24, the entrance sign unveiling ceremony took place marking a significant point of construction of the memorial.  The Ken Matheis family of Orion donated this beautiful sign.

May, June, and July 2004
Ajax Paving Company donated and installed the asphalt parking lot complete with striping.  Mark Boden and Paul Graney and Ajax volunteers are to be thanked for this accomplishment.  Exterior lighting was completed and Trost Irrigation installed the sprinkler system.  The main monument area was completed and also the Peacoat monument area.  Ken Hickman and his company donated their labor to finish this part.

August 2004
The first stage of landscape plantings was completed by Joe Guinn and his family.  This consisted of 12 ten-foot spruce evergreen trees.

September 2004
The next landscaping step was done by Gibbs Landscaping Company.  This included mulching around all evergreen trees, many shrubs around the outside walls, and perennial plants where construction allowed.

On September 19, Senator Mike Bishop and state representative candidate, Jim Marleau, gave a barbecue benefit dinner for the Orion Veterans Memorial.  IT was held at the Orion Oxford Fraternal Order of Eagles in Orion.  The Church Street Singers, Commissioner Bill Patterson's band and Burke Cueny's barbershop quartet provided patriot music and more.