U.S. Marine Deployment Decades Ago Helps Basiliere Bring Veterans Memorial to Finish Line

Latest artist’s rendition of Haverhill Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial at Mill Brook Park.

Ralph T. Basiliere, chairman, Vietnam Veterans Memorial Commission. (WHAV News file photograph.)

When Ralph T. Basiliere served in the U.S. Marine Corps, he learned a valuable lesson about contingency planning. His 1987 deployment in West Africa is still helping as improvements at the new Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Mill Brook Park will commence earlier than planned despite the recent cancellation of fundraisers.

Placement of new monuments, trees, curbing, benches and other amenities begins in April rather than May. All this even though key fundraisers planned by Haverhill’s Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Ad Hoc Commission, which Basiliere chairs, have been postponed.

“Honest, forward- looking contingency planning and fiscal prudence has positioned us to deliver on our promises in spite of a multi-focal crisis. Our ship is strong and we’re charting a course around the storm,” Basiliere said.

That contingency planning involved rescues from Haverhill Community Development Director Andrew K. Herlihy and donations from Trinity Ambulance and Covanta. Herlihy “navigated the waters” of state contracts, bringing in $35,000 so far toward $50,000 expected in grants.

Basiliere said he already has in hand $37,000 in monuments and benches, $16,000 in trees planted, $12,000 in loam delivered and $30,000 in curbing installed.

Basiliere concedes some plantings may be temporarily omitted and hopes to add them back into the project when fundraising resumes. One such fundraiser, a “Speakeasy,” featuring 1920s-era glamor, now is planned for Saturday, Sept. 26, 6-10 p.m., at DiBurro’s in Ward Hill.

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