Two days after O’Fallon residents woke up to learn that the city’s monument honoring military veterans was damaged, a local company announced it will raise money to pay the portion of replacement costs not covered by insurance.
The Spengler Company announced on its Facebook page that it will sell wristbands and donate all of the money raised to the O’Fallon Veterans Monument Committee. The bands will sell for $2 apiece and will have the words patriotism, allegiance, unity and democracy — the same words that top the large stones containing the names of O’Fallon military veterans — printed on them. The bands go on sale in local businesses Friday.
A Gofundme page also has been set up. The company said it hopes to raise $10,000. Half of that would pay the deductible on the insurance claim and the rest would be put into an account the committee can use as “a rainy day fund.” A total of $2,362 had been raised though the Gofundme page as of 9:15 p.m. Thursday.
“(The monument is) very near and dear to our hearts and our family,” said Jason Spengler, one of the company’s owners. “My sister’s design, Julie Spengler, was the award-winning design the monument’s based off of — she’s an architect. And then, my father volunteered his time, every day, to oversee the site’s construction when it was built. He was basically like the project manager, and it meant a lot to him.”
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Spengler said his father’s and grandfather’s names are on one of the tablets that were damaged. “I know how much pride my father had when the site was being (erected) originally and then seeing how emotional and upset he was, along with many others, when news of its damage surfaced, so I wanted to step up and help any way we could,” he said.
City employees reporting for work Monday morning discovered two of the tablets shattered on the ground. O’Fallon Police announced they were investigating the matter as a crime but also said they couldn’t rule out the possibility that the tablets were toppled by strong winds during a Sunday evening storm.
“At this point, we have been unable to determine the cause of the damage one way or the other,” O’Fallon Police Lt. Rob Schmidtke said. “The investigation remains open.”
Spengler said replacement of the two tablets likely wouldn’t be complete until later this summer, well after the city’s annual Memorial Day celebration is held at the site. But O’Fallon Mayor Gary Graham has said the incident at the site hasn’t dissuaded the city from hosting its celebration there as planned.