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Veterans Cemetery seeks auction items for fundraiser

The Northern Maine Veterans Cemetery Corporation is seeking donations of auction items for a Fundraising Spaghetti Dinner on Saturday, September 15 from 4–8 p.m. at the VFW Hall in Caribou.  The dinner will feature a silent auction, a live auction, raffle, guest speakers, music and door prizes. Tickets to the event are $10 each or 8 for $70. Harry Hafford, chairman of the cemetery corporation said that the event is being held to raise funds for an additional dedication wall to be placed at the cemetery in honor of U.S. Army Veterans.  

   “Ever since this cemetery was dedicated in June of 2003 people from Aroostook County and beyond have been so generous”, said Hafford who will speak at the upcoming dinner.  “We have raised thousands of dollars and we have created one of the most remarkable Veterans’ cemeteries in the nation. Now we want to add an additional dedication wall to honor those who served honorably in the United States Army because we are running out of display space.”

The new wall will feature plaques in honor of honorably discharged Army Veterans who are deceased or in honor of a Veteran who is still living.  The cost of the wall will be $22,000. Hafford said that fundraising for the addition to the cemetery will continue over the coming months.

“We know this is a substantial amount of money,” said Hafford.  “We are confident, going on our past experience, that we will be successful and we will hold a special ceremony to dedicate the new wall once it is complete.”

The Northern Maine Veterans Cemetery, located on the Lombard Road in Caribou, was dedicated on June 1, 2003 and was made possible in part by a $2.8 million dollar grant provided by the United States Veterans Affairs State Cemetery Grant program and the generous donation of 33.4 acres of land by the late John Noble and his widow Joyce.  The parcel of land sits at an elevation that provides a spectacular view of the Aroostook Countryside. The Avenue of Flags and the main ceremonial area are striking tributes to those who are interned at the cemetery. The cemetery has capacity for some 10,000 burials and 1,500 cremations. Both honorably discharged Veterans and their spouses are eligible to be buried at the site.

“The continued support of this incredible property is vital to our efforts in honoring those who have done their part in supporting the freedoms that we now enjoy.” said Hafford.  “This latest fund raising effort won’t be the last but everything we do at the cemetery adds to the respect and admiration we have for our Veterans. We are very grateful for all of the support we have received that has made this a very special place here in Caribou.”

Individuals wishing to contribute auction items to the upcoming dinner or make a donation to the fundraising effort may do so by contacting Harry Hafford at 768-0525.  Auction items will be picked up or may be dropped off at the Caribou VFW Hall on the Van Buren Road just past Cary Medical Center. Tickets are still available for the dinner and may be purchased the night of the event.

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