CANAAN — Voters at a special town meeting Monday will be asked to spend money that has been sitting in a capital reserve account for decades to build a Canaan Veterans Memorial.

At the meeting, set for 6:30 p.m., residents will vote on whether to use about $11,000 from the account for ground work for the monument. If it is approved, the work would begin right away, said Mary O’Donnell, fundraising coordinator for the Canaan Veterans Memorial Committee.

Residents also will be asked to change the plan for the original memorial to include “all honorable veterans,” not just those who died while serving in the armed forces.

The committee, which was established about 25 years ago to raise money for a veterans’ memorial in Canaan, is back with a passion, O’Donnell said. She said voters at town meetings 20 to 25 years ago agreed to raise money in small increments for the stone memorial. The committee at the time dissolved, leaving the money in the reserve account and the plans for a memorial in limbo.

O’Donnell said the committee now has about $13,000 of the estimated $28,000 needed to complete the job.

“We’re confident we can raise the rest of the money and don’t know any other way to proceed than to get people on board and just get it going,” O’Donnell said. “The original committee is now defunct and some of us got chatting and said, ‘Let’s pick up where they left off.’ All this has happened since May.”

Volunteer Linda Dunbar said the group raised about $1,230 at two recent “paint night” fundraisers, in which participants buy tickets to be taught how to paint a picture in a group setting during two sessions at the Skowhegan Elks Club.

The next big fundraiser by the Canaan Veterans Memorial Committee is scheduled for 8 p.m. Saturday, when Maine comedian Krazy Jake will take the stage at T&B’s Outback Tavern on Madison Avenue in Skowhegan. Tickets cost $15, and half of the proceeds will go toward the monument.

Krazy Jake Hodgdon performs regularly at Foxwoods Casino and the Wilbur Theater in Boston. He also appears on the new television program “Yankee Jungle” on the Animal Planet cable network. O’Donnell said the group hopes to raise more than $3,000 from that event.

Larry Burrill, a former Canaan resident and retired U.S. Navy officer, also has offered a $3,000 matching challenge for an equal amount from the public, O’Donnell said.

The monument, which at first will contain the names of all Canaan military veterans from the Civil War through World War II, was designed by Elias Monuments, of Madison. Names of Canaan veterans who served after World War II to the present are being collected and will be added when the list is complete, O’Donnell said.

She said there will be 300 to 400 names on the two-sided monument once it’s completed. The old names had been assembled on a roll call displayed at the Union Church in Canaan. The town sexton also has noted many veterans’ graves in Canaan as a way to cross-reference the list, O’Donnell said.

The middle section of the monument is to be 72 inches tall, with each of two granite wings measuring 60 inches. The middle section would be 66 inches wide, and the monument’s total length, including the wings, would be 170 inches. The monument is to be erected on 14 acres donated to the town on Route 23 for a new library by Bill and Louise Townsend, of Canaan. The library opened last year.

Stanley Ames is donating his time and equipment for the groundbreaking, while another man, David Bowden, is donating the concrete for the base of the memorial. The base and groundwork are expected to settle over the winter for construction in the spring.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]


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