MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - The East Mississippi Veterans Foundation is entering the New Year with the same goal of bringing the RF-4C Phantom II, a retired military aircraft that once flew in Meridian, back to the Queen City.
Board member and veteran Danny Smith said $50,000 of the $70,000 goal has already been raised and he believes the remaining $20,000 could easily be raised if more community members pitched in.
"There are a lot more people in the Meridian, East Mississippi area than 70,000 people,” said Smith. “If each one could only give a dollar we would have the airplane here. If each person could give 10 dollars, we would have the entire park funded."
The aircraft is only the beginning of plans for a veterans park that is expected to house a wall of remembrance, honor service men and women and highlight major conflicts.
Smith says he wants to see traction on the park in the New Year.
"But also to educate the young folks who might not have the opportunity to see this information or to understand what this actually meant,” said Smith. “What these people have accomplished and died for to make it available to where they can even have a park like this."
There are several ways to give financially.
Donors may give online by clicking the attached link, stop by any local branch of Citizens National Bank or mail their donation to the foundation at P.O. Box 4755, Meridian, MS 39304.
"It's not just a memorial, it's an educational aspect, too,” said Smith. “Sometimes folks don't get to see everything that they need to see as far as what has been done for them in the past. This is the way to do it."
The entire project is expected to cost around $400,000. That's money members of the veterans foundation say will soon be worth it because highlighting our military heroes is priceless.
The foundation recently changed its name from the East Mississippi Veterans Memorial Foundation to the East Mississippi Veterans Foundation, with plans to do more than bring the memorial park to the area.