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Snook donates money to vets memorial

March 24, 1999|By BRENDAN KIRBY

Veterans advocates faced a skeptical audience Tuesday when they asked the Washington County Commissioners to help pay for a half-finished veterans wall in Martin L. "Marty" Snook Park.

The commissioners said they wanted private donations to pay for the project, and then Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook put his money where his mouth was: $5,000, to be exact.

Snook gave members of the Washington County Joint Veterans Council the personal donation and urged the group to go out and get more such contributions.

"I think it's important to continue the fund-raising efforts," he said.

Snook's gift was 12 1/2 times more than all of the money that has been donated to the project in the last five weeks.

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Even with Snook's donation, the Joint Veterans Council needs almost $30,000 to complete the project, which began as a retaining wall to level the ground at one place in the park.

After veterans consulted with the commissioners last year, the project grew to include a 140-foot-long memorial to honor the Armed Services. The wall is to have five arches, each with a plaque of the five military branches.

"It will be a darn shame if we can't complete it," said James L. Sprecher Sr., president of the Joint Veterans Council.

Ray S. Linebaugh, the organization's secretary, praised the quality of the work done so far. Without the cash and labor that has been donated, he said the group would not have been able to afford such a project.

"It would have been a shabby-looking thing," he said.

The commissioners told the veterans that the county already has provided significant help in the form of donated labor by county workers.

The commissioners also urged the council to organize fund-raising events to bring in cash.

Commissioner William J. Wivell volunteered to help raise funds.

"I hope that we can get that done without having to pull in taxpayer dollars," he said.

Commissioner Paul L. Swartz suggested that the Veterans Council return to the Washington County Gaming Commission for funding. The Gaming Commission determined in February that the group was not eligible for funds.

The size of Snook's donation stunned Sprecher and Linebaugh.

"That, there, is a significant contribution," Linebaugh said in an interview.

In addition to the $5,000 check, Linebaugh said Snook also gave $300 to the project from leftover campaign funds last year and the Snook family donated $500 for a plaque that will bear the memorial's name.

Snook said he has always felt a strong affinity for the county's parks, especially Snook Park, which is named for his late father, a former commissioner.

Donations needed




People who want to donate to the veterans wall project can make a check payable to Joint Veterans Council - Memorial Wall.

Donations are tax deductible.

Checks can be sent to: P.O. Box 3664, Northern Avenue, Hagerstown, MD 21742

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