Dirt turned at future spot of Gold Star Families monument

Ground was broken this morning for the new Gold Star Families Memorial Monument during a ceremony at Guice Park, north of the Biloxi Small Craft Harbor.

“We are excited to add another monument to the park and to honor those who lost loved ones in combat,” Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich said. “Through the partnership with Keesler Federal Credit Union we are able to make this project happen.”

The 35-minute ceremony began at 10 a.m. at the park, just north of the harbor and in the shadow of the USS Biloxi mast and the Purple Heart Memorial. Nearby was construction of a new pedestrian bridge over U.S. 90, which connects waterfront attractions with the recently opened Hilton Garden Inn and the yet-to-open Watermark.

The ceremony also included brief comments by City of Biloxi Chief Administrative Officer Michael Leonard, decorated Marine veteran that spread headed the project; Mike King from Woody Williams Medal of Honor Foundation; Jim Hollingsworth, Marine veteran and Board chairman of Keesler Federal Credit Union; and Diane Moore, chairman and member of Gold Star Families.

“Keesler Federal wanted to be involved in this project as soon as we first heard about it.  The Gold Star Families Monument will serve as a permanent memorial to the families whose loved ones have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.  The pain does not go away and neither should our appreciation of their personal sacrifices,” Hollingsworth said.

“This is a project that really hit home with Keesler Federal.  We are a member-owned financial cooperative.  Many of the Gold Star Families from this area are our members and our neighbors. Our motto of ‘Important to you, Important to us’ couldn’t ring clearer in supporting this project.”

Keesler Federal is providing the funds for the monument, the city is providing the site and the Gulf Coast Gold Star Families committee has assisted with design of the monument.  The Woody Williams Medal of Honor Foundation, a non-profit organization located in Louisville, Ky., has sponsored similar Gold Star monuments around the country in order to raise public awareness about Gold Star families.

The memorial is expected to be complete in the fall and will be unveiled during a dedication ceremony.
Read the program for the ceremony
See images from the event

News & notes: Weekly report, traffic

The week that was: Last week, the Fire Department answered 149 calls for service, including 96 medical emergencies and eight fires; the Police Department handled 1,912 calls for service; the Community Development Department issued 77 building permits with a construction valuation of nearly $1.5 million; and the Engineering Department continued progress on projects throughout the city.  To see the reports covering last week, click here.

Traffic: To see the latest on construction projects throughout the city, click here.