Danbury Veterans Memorial Takes Big Step Forward But the Work is Never Done
David Vieira is a veteran and the Chairman of the Afghanistan Iraq Veterans War Memorial Fund.
David has been working tirelessly to get a war memorial installed in Danbury to honor veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan for the last year and he just made some major headway.
The Afghanistan Iraq Veterans War Memorial Fund just got a $230,000 influx of money towards the effort, with the help of Danbury Representative Farley Santos. The Afghanistan Iraq Veterans War Memorial Fund issued a press release last week (6/6/23) that included a quote from Santos that read:
"I'm very pleased to have secured funding for Danbury in the budget to support the Afghanistan Iraq Veterans War Memorial Fund. I want to extend my heartfelt appreciation to Speaker Matt Ritter and Majority Leader Jason Rojas along with Senator Julie Kushner, Representative Bob Godfrey, and Representative Raghib Allie-Brennan for their help and collaboration in making this possible. These funds will be utilized to create the first in Connecticut memorial honoring all state veterans who valiantly served in the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts."
We spoke to David Vieira on the Wednesday edition of the I-95 Morning Show.
You got a huge chunk of cash $230,000, how did that happen?
"Yes sir we're very fortunate, State Representative Farley Santos has been a big supporter of our efforts since the beginning really. He said he was going to do what he could at the House level, the state level and he got it done. He worked with his party leadership and all the members of the assembly and they were able to get $230,000 into the budget towards our project. It's incredible, we're absolutely beyond grateful for the work he put in to get this done for us "
Where does this money put you on the road to your goal?
"We don't have the check in hand from the state yet but if I were to count that we're at about $340,000 we've raised."
How did you get this far so fast? Is it hard work, talking to the right people?
"It's really been a grass roots fundraising effort, we've done a ton of events, Texas Roadhouse, Gallo Family Restaurant, different bars, setting up a table to sell shirts and sweatshirts wherever we could, generous donations from the community."
How close are you to your goal?
"This state money will put us at the point where I can go down and actually sign the contract to have this monument built, the pieces. My fundraising moving forward is going to ensure that I have enough to install the monument, the landscaping work, the lighting and I want to set some money set aside for the future so that no one is responsible for the maintenance of the monument. That is part of the project and then hopefully soon we'll be able to announce how we're going to transition this monument effort into helping veterans in a different way."
You're going to keep the work going after the monument is installed?
"Right, the money we've raised to this point is going towards the monument but we want to transition into other projects that help veterans in different ways. Our work isn't done when the monument is done, this is our first big goal that we need to get accomplished. But, through Representative Santos it's going to get done sooner than I thought and it allows us to kind of transition to focusing on some other things that veterans need."
After the interview, I continued my discussion with Vieira who told me he forgot to mention something. David said the fund recently received a generous donation from Fuel Cell through the City of Danbury in the amount of $25,000. He added that they also recently hung the new banner at the future memorial site.
David already served his country honorably as an Army Sergeant in Afghanistan's Operation Enduring Freedom, he doesn't owe anything to anyone yet he continues to give more and more. Whenever we've thanked him for his service or his work on the fund, he deflects the spotlight and gives credit to others. This community is lucky to have him and I feel fortunate to be associated with him, even in a small way.
Listen to the full unedited version of our interview with David Vieira below.
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