The Veteran Memorial Restoration Project, sponsored by the Ponca City VFW Post 1201 and Veterans Day Parade Committee and funded by Creekside Village Assisted Living Center, is repairing and restoring the final resting place of all veterans interred at IOOF Cemetery.
Many monuments have eroded due to the effects of time and weather. Many others have been damaged or vandalized. The project will repair existing damage and protect the stones from further erosion.
Although there are many stones in need of attention, the primary focus will be on veteran’s monuments.
They will, however, consider other stones if resources are available.
The effort will begin at the easternmost section of the cemetery, which contains the oldest graves and proceed west.
Curbs or other protective barriers will be constructed around small stones to minimize damage from mowing. Medallions denoting affiliation with DAR, VFW, American Legion, etc. will be restored and permanently affixed to the stone to prevent loss or damage.
Unfortunately, threats from vandalism and theft must also be addressed. Surveillance and other security measures will be considered.
Joe Glaser will oversee documentation and research.
He will coordinate with the local historical/genealogical society and encourage their involvement.
He will add information to his current database as it becomes available and will attempt to identify all veteran’s gravesites and provide a grid and/or map that will assist VFW members in marking gravesites on Memorial Day. Any volunteers who have computer expertise or who may not be able to perform strenuous physical tasks should be referred to Joe.
He will also take photographs of significant stones prior to restoration and provide photos for publication in local media.
VFW members will oversee the actual restoration and repair of gravestones.
The parade committee will be responsible for promoting the project and coordinating media involvement.
Past Commander Gary Miles asks that any and all concerned citizens and civic organizations get involved in this worthwhile project. A work party and orientation will be held on Saturday, March 18 at 9 a.m. at IOOF Cemetery.
If you have information concerning gravesites of veterans who are not identified as such, please contact Glaser at 580-763-3907.
If you wish to be involved in the restoration process, please call Miles at 580-761-2431. Follow the group on Facebook at Veteran Memorial Restoration Project.