Fundraising continues for Vietnam Memorial visit

CALUMET TOWNSHIP – A replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is coming to Calumet this summer, and local organizers are looking to raise funds to help defray the costs of its week-long stay.

Don Bausano, chair of the North Houghton County Moving Wall Committee, said it hopes to raise about $15,000. The wall will be in town from July 9 to 14, including a Saturday ceremony with two guest speakers. There may also be a candlelight vigil and wreath-laying, Bausano said.

Bausano said the money will cover charges such as the fee for the wall, lodging for the drivers, electricity to cover the required 24-hour lighting and programs.

“You don’t want to get down to the last day and have a grandma ask for a program and say, ‘We ran out,'” he said.

The traveling exhibit, which includes 74 panels, is a half-size replica of the memorial in Washington, D.C.

The wall is one of a pair, and tours the eastern U.S. It has visited numerous other sites in the Upper Peninsula, including Sault Ste. Marie, Marquette, Ironwood and South Range.

Bausano said the effort to bring the wall to Calumet began about two years ago after it came to South Range.

“I thought, ‘Why can’t we do it in Calumet?'” he said.

State Rep. Scott Dianda, D-Calumet, presented Bausano with a check for $600 from the Michigan Beverage Association Friday.

“We just really want to make sure we can get as many people as we can up here to experience this, because we had so many people here give up so much,” he said.

There are 58,286 names on the wall. Calumet High School accounts for five, Bausano said – John Musich, Paul Pirkola, Pat Coppo, Gene Koski and Marshall Kipina, the last of whom is missing in action. There were 16 overall from Houghton and Keweenaw counties.

“There’ll be a write-up about each of them (on display),” Bausano said.

The Calumet Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps will hold a pancake breakfast fundraiser for the wall on Dec. 14 at the Calumet Colosseum.

Donations can be sent to VFW Post 3900, 26628 Larch St, Calumet, MI 49913. For more information, call Bausano at 337-5395 or 281-2110.