Gander Heritage Memorial Park

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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Donations and a Park progress report as of August 07, 2014

Royal Canadian Legion Ladies Auxiliary Makes 3rd Donation to Park ...

Reverend Wesley Oake, Honorary Patron of The Gander Heritage Memorial Park and Chairman, Wilson Hoffe gratefully accept a donation of $3000.00 from the Royal Canadian Legion Ladies Auxiliary, Gander. This represents the proceeds from the Cold Plate Take-Out Dinner held on April 9, 2014. We are extremely grateful to the Ladies Auxiliary for this, their third donation to the park, for a total of $5,500.00. This was a great fund-raiser and with help from some of the Park committee it went extremely well. There are some hard-working ladies in that Auxiliary and they are already planning their next event to raise even more funds for the Park. Thank you all so much!

(L-R) Rev. Wesley Oake; Beulah Cooper, Secretary and Clara Cross, Vice President of the Royal Canadian Legion Ladies Auxiliary; Wilson Hoffe
Photo courtesy of Wilson Hoffe

More Donations ...

Kenny and Marleen Alhadeff of Seattle, WA were visiting Gander with playwrights Irene Carl Sankoff and husband David Hein. Sankoff and Hein have written a musical about the 9/11 experience in Gander and area called "Come From Away". With the other producers from Junk Yard Dog Productions, their plan is to continue to workshop the play with the intention of taking it to Broadway. As part of their research, the producers, director and playwrights visited Appleton, Glenwood, Gambo and Gander to learn more about the various responses to the needs of 9/11 passengers.

They were also treated to a Screech-In ceremony at the Royal Canadian Legion where they met Rev. Wesley Oake and learned about his courageous parachute jump and his fundraising endeavors for the Gander Heritage Memorial Park. They did not hesitate to make a donation of $1,000.00 USD to Rev. Oake on behalf of the Alhadeff Family Charitable Foundation which was formed in 1997. On behalf of the Gander Heritage Memorial Park and Rev. Oake, our sincere thanks for their generosity.

(L-R) Wilson Hoffe, Marleen and Kenny Alhadeff, Rev. Wesley Oake
Photo courtesy of Diane Davis

The screech-in patrons chewing on their 'hard-tack' before the tasty caplin and the generous shot of Newfoundland Screech
Photo courtesy of Diane Davis

Marleen proudly showing her Screechers certificate as the other screechers: Kenny, Irene, David, Randy and Sue recover
Photo courtesy of Diane Davis

Rev. Oake, and indeed the Park Committee, are in awe of the numerous donations we are receiving in his name since his successful parachute jump. Rev. Oake's goal was to raise $9,100.00 and at the time of his jump had already raised $13,000.00 and of this date, the contributions have risen to almost $19,000.00. This is absolutely magnificent and we can't thank you all enough. Each and every donation of $5, $10, $20, etc. brings us closer to completing this beautiful Park.

It's impossible to single out any particular donation, however, Rev. Oake says one of the most emotional and inspiring donations came from the family of the late Capt. G. Campbell Eaton. Capt. Eaton served in the 166th Regiment of the Royal Artillery, which is the same regiment in which Rev. Oake served. This Newfoundland Field Regiment fought in Britain, Africa and Italy in World War II for which Capt. Eaton received the Military Cross. The family recently visited Gander and met with Rev. Oake and presented him with six donations of $166.00 each, representing the regiment number to which Rev. Oake and Capt. Eaton were assigned. Again, our sincere thanks to the Eaton family.

Park Progress ...

Work is progressing very well at the Park, while some people only see mounds of dirt, others can see it taking shape. Our Site Foreman and two site workers are working hard every day in extremely high temperatures. Our trees, shrubs and plants are thriving, thanks to the attention of the staff and our volunteers watering them twice daily. We really need rain to help them along but then rain is a detriment to some other work ongoing. The Airmen's Memorial is erected, thanks to Town of Gander employees & our Site Foreman. (Extra brackets were installed just yesterday and the strapping in the photo has now been be removed.)

Airmen's Memorial
Photo courtesy of Gerard McCarthy

Airmen's Memorial
Photo courtesy of Gerard McCarthy

One of many groupings of white hydrangeas planted through the Park
Photo courtesy of Gerard McCarthy

The tender has been awarded for the laying of the walkway pavers and the plaza stones, however we still need to sell more plaza stones to pay the huge bills, not just the cost of purchasing them but to have them installed. Remember they are $100.00 each and are a great way to do an in-memoriam to a loved one. See "How Donations Will Work" on the Donations page of this website or at the end of this post.

The forms are all ready for the pouring of the concrete for the 4 flagpoles and when this is done, that huge mound of dirt will disappear and in its place will be beautiful green grass.

Waiting for concrete and then the flag poles
Photo courtesy of Gerard McCarthy

The new permanent bronze plaque for the Winged Victory is on order, which will be much larger than the temporary one which was hastily installed last year for the November 11th ceremonies. We hope it will be in place for the Battle of Britain Ceremonies on September 14th. We'll post photos of it with the new plaza stones in September. However, Winged Victory is magnificent thanks to the wonderful job of restoration done by sculptor, Morgan McDonald.

"Winged Victory" restored by Newfoundland Foundry and standing on a hunk of Newfoundland granite
Photo courtesy of Gerard McCarthy

"Winged Victory" came from the original Gander Cenotaph erected many many years ago
Photo courtesy of Gerard McCarthy

Photos of the park in its present state courtesy of Gerard McCarthy. Thanks so much Gerard for taking the time to get the great photos and sharing them with everyone.

Sgt. Gander & his Soldier/Handler ...

This is indeed the most significant monument and focal point of the entire park and was the main objective of the Gander Schools Legacy Project. We sure did not anticipate the huge undertaking when looking for an appropriate site for Sgt. Gander back in 2010.

Sculptor, Morgan McDonald of Newfoundland Bronze Foundry sent us these progress photos with his 'technical' explanations. "This needs a good bit of clay modeling so there is nothing impressive to look at yet. You can see the size in the photo, and get the sense of scale next to me sculpting. Gander is on the right side of the soldier, this is where his leash will go. He is quite big, so much so you may say he is larger than life."

Photo courtesy of Newfoundland Bronze Foundry

Photo courtesy of Newfoundland Bronze Foundry

Morgan also went on to say: "I have to say I am blown away by Rev Oake. His efforts, past and present, risking life and limb for the benefit of us all is humbling. He is an inspiring individual to say the least. Watching the video of him jumping out of the plane to bring awareness to this project filled me with a sense of pride to be working with such individuals. I will be thinking of this when sculpting.".

Thank you, Morgan. We are so anxious to see the two sculptures completed and are anticipating the unveiling to be held mid-September during the Battle of Britain Ceremonies at the Park.

Park Budget ...

The initial budget of $450,000.00 for the Park, done several years ago, was based on considerable in-kind labour and materials. However, in many instances these contributions have not been possible due to circumstances beyond the control of these promised contractors/suppliers. Having spent last summer depending on the availability of gratis equipment, materials, etc. progress was extremely slow. This year to ensure steady progress and to reach our goals of having several phases completed this year, we have had to hire a Site Manager, rent a great deal of equipment, hire contractors and purchase materials, which was not all included in the budget. We have tightened our belts, so to say, and have obtained 3-4 quotes on every purchase and service so as to select the lowest bid and in some cases, have been able to have these contracts completed at cost or reduced rates. Even with these tight restraints, the Engineering and Design Consultants have had to re-work the budget and have presented us with a new target cost of $540,000.00.

We are actively working on new fund-raising ideas and although the donations to date have been fantastic and we know you have all dug deep in your pockets, we still need the assistance of the public and businesses. Please spread the word about this scenic and historic park and get family, friends and business associates involved. If you have ideas for fund-raising or donations we would be grateful to have them or even if you can volunteer some labour, we can certainly use extra hands at times. Email if you can help. Thank You!

Maxine Smith, Committee Member / August 07, 2014

We now have an updated Donations page and an updated Donations Progress Bar with an updated Ticker on the right. As of July 31 2014 we have achieved 77.7% of our target which amounts to $419,577 of our target total of $540,000. Thank you to all who have donated your time or financial aid ... much appreciated! The progress bar now depicts the percentage based on the new budget target.

On the Donations page I updated sections Small Business Donors, Individual Donors and Plaza Stones Purchases!

to jump to the updated Donations page to view all updated sections.

We now acknowledge donations made In memory of. The committee is looking at a plaque of some type to be permanently mounted at the Gander Heritage Memorial Park site acknowledging these individual donations. Both PayPal and the Town of Gander have no means of recording the donation made In memory of. If you want your name to appear as a donor In memory of on this website please email our Site Administrator Gerard at or Committee Member Maxine at and your donation will be recorded as such and will be shown as In memory of.

If you don't want your name to appear as a donor on this website please email our Site Administrator Gerard at or Committee Member Maxine at and your donation will be shown as anonymous.

You may purchase plaza stones by simply making your donation in the same manner as detailed on this website and then send a short email to Maxine denoting that the donation is for the "purchase of paving stone(s)". Receipts for income tax purposes will be issued by the Town of Gander.

Gerard McCarthy / August 07, 2014

NOTE*** Your comments are welcomed!
However, all comments will be queued for review before being published and name=anonymous will be deleted unless your name is included at the end of your comment! This is to prevent spam, etc.
Before you click Publish your Comment please click on Name/URL and enter your full name. Don't forget the scrambled words - this is so automated spams cannot be dumped here!
Thank you. Gerard

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