GARDINER — For more than 10 months, a group of volunteers has been working for one goal: to bring the Wall that Heals on the Gardiner Common.

On Tuesday, the three-quarter size replica of the Vietnam Memorial arrives in central Maine and will be set up in the Gardiner Common, where organizers expect anywhere from 9,000 to 15,000 people from around the state to visit during the four days it will be standing, starting Thursday.

“We have had tremendous outpouring from all the local businesses,” Billie Ellis said.

Ellis has been working with a group of local volunteers and Christ Church in Gardiner to bring the Wall that Heals to Maine.

“The planning part is pretty well done,” Hank McIntyre, one of the project coordinators said. “It’s the execution now.”

The kernel of the idea got its start last year when Robert Egloff, Ellis’s husband, decided he wanted to volunteer to read names of soldiers killed in Vietnam at the 35th anniversary of the Wall in Washington, D.C., and he found information about the Wall that Heals online.


With seed money in a bequest that Dewy and Joyce Gray had left to Christ Church, the organizers set about raising about $18,000 to cover the costs of putting on the multi-day event and promoting it.

“This is brought to us by the local little guys,” Ellis said. “It’s the mom-and-pops businesses and the people who really have a connection with it. It was their dads, their brothers and sisters who were in Vietnam. This touches everybody.”

A Mobile Education Center that accompanies the Wall that Heals on its annual stops will be set up as well as two exhibits that highlight the epidemic of suicide among veterans — the Silhouette Project organized by Linda Lajoie of Gardiner, who lost her own son to suicide, and Mission 22 which, among other things, raises awareness about veterans’ suicide.

Representatives from Wreaths Across America will also be on hand.

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