BOSTON (CBS) – Two Haverhill men saw a problem, and when the city didn’t have the resources to fix it, they stepped up. Their work is all the more touching because it honors those who gave their lives in service to the country.
It started when Vin Kelly, a 30 year Marine who fought in Vietnam, and Jim Holloran, an Army vet, went to visit a memorial to a boyhood friend who died in Vietnam. Starting in 1995 the city put up 271 of the memorials honoring Haverhill veterans who died during World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. The memorials are signs on metal poles with names and dates of death and a gold star. But when they went to their friend’s memorial, “We saw that it was missing,” says Holloran. That’s right, missing, gone. So Vin and Jim looked further. They found that out of 271 markers, 91 were gone. Many more were damaged.
As WBZ drove around Haverhill with Jim and Vin we saw poles with no signs, bent and rusted poles, and signs that were damaged or defaced. “Some of the poles were hit by snowplows, motor vehicle accidents. A lot of the signs were subject to vandalism, theft,” says Kelly.
Some of the signs they picked up off the ground are in Vin Kelly’s garage. “It’s a travesty. Here are people, 271 people, who have fought for the country. Haverhill sons. And paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country,” says Kelly. Now the two men have started an effort to raise $13,000 to restore the memorials. I think the least we can do for these people is maintain their signs,” says Kelly.
If you’d like to help, donations can be made payable to “City of Haverhill.”
And sent to:
Veterans Services Office
10 Welcome St.
Haverhill, MA 01830