Bob and Karen Loftus, from left, and Ken Quirion are reflected in a memorial stone Thursday at Veterans Memorial Park on Roderick Road in Winslow. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Caretakers of a park in Winslow dedicated to all who donned the uniforms of the military services of the United States are discovering that the organization responsible for the upkeep and future existence of the park is reaching its fiduciary limits.

The daughters of one of the original founders of the Central Maine Veterans Memorial Park on the Roderick Road in Winslow is seeking assistance.

“We need help,” Karen Loftus said.

“Desperately,” added her sister, Patti Libby.

Loftus and Libby are daughters of Daniel DeRoch, who helped found the park with a group of World War II veterans. Loftus is the financial agent for the trust that funds the park, and the sisters hold a vast historical archive of the park just a few steps away from it at the Winslow Supply Co.

The town of Winslow is not responsible for the park’s upkeep. It is owned by Company G Memorial Trust. The trust is named for Company G, a group of Waterville residents who served in World War II. Loftus is the self-described agent who writes and signs the checks. The ownership group pays taxes and insurance on the park.

Loftus and Libby said they’d like to float the idea of Winslow, or another organization, taking over care and operation of the park. However, they’re not quite sure about the legalities of such a transfer of responsibility.

“My dad put a lot of his money in it in the beginning, so he would see the park finished,” said Loftus, 69. “He put down money, but it has dwindled fast.”

Karen and Bob Loftus, from left, stand with Ken Quirion at Veterans Memorial Park on Roderick Road in Winslow on Thursday. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Veterans DeRoch, Tommy Maroon, Ben Perry and Francis Bourgoin came up with the idea for the park in 2000.

Later, Leon Audet, also a World War II veteran, joined the group. Audet, who died in 2015, used to go to the park daily and maintain the stones.

“We’re kinda looking for someone to take it on for longevity,” said Libby, 63. “We can’t do it forever.”

DeRoch’s name is on the commemorative stone, dated 2005, that outlines the park’s purpose to honor all Mainers who ever served the United States regardless of race, color or creed. It also notes a special honor for Col. William “Bill” Mansfield of Winslow, who led his own men of Company G to battle during World War II.

DeRoch died in 2014.

A post on the park’s Facebook page states it was created to honor all Maine veterans living or dead, male or female, serving now or in the past and lists Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Merchant Marines, National Guard, reserve units and the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps of World War II.

Volunteers, including the trustees and those from elsewhere, have contributed flowers, landscaping, flags and more. The grass around the park is consistently mowed. Loftus paid to have the weeds whacked last year. They sprouted back up this spring and summer. But Ken Quirion stepped in.

Quirion, 69, rarely rides as a passenger when driving through town, but in July the lifelong Winslow resident noticed the park did not look as it once did. Green weeds sprouted all around the stones.

Quirion’s father, Joseph Quirion, first cousin Carlton Frost and uncle, Noel Rodrigue, have stones at the park. Quirion is a veteran of the Army National Guard. A few weeks after riding by the park, Quirion spent $800 of his own money to have the weeds killed off.

Pavers have been removed by vandals at Veterans Memorial Park on Roderick Road in Winslow. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

“I did my part,” Quirion said. “Now it’s just trying to get some people organized and no one seems to be doing anything. It never should’ve gotten that way.”

Funds coming into the trust are minimal. Just three small stones priced at $250 each have been sold over the past two years. There is still a balance in the trust, but not much money is going in.

The park currently has 758 small paver stones, 160 larger border stones and 27 memorial benches. The three types of memorials, which range in price from $250-$950, are purchased and delivered directly to the park by Elias Monuments in Madison.

Loftus reached a breaking point when a friend pointed to a Facebook post earlier this year. People commented about how the park glistened years ago, Loftus said, and she felt the burden of responsibility over how it looked at the time of the post.

“I know it looked atrocious, too,” Loftus said. “You know how people are on social media.”

Loftus remembers seeing students from Winslow schools taking photos with stones of relatives.

She, Libby and third sister Cindy McCarthy, 66, who lives in Washington State, take immense pride in the work their father did to start the park. They, along with Quirion, are among the handful of community members on board to care for the park, but supporters of the park yearn for more.

“Somebody’s got to stir the pot to say, ‘let’s get together and do this work,'” Quirion said. “We just can’t let this go.”

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