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NORTH YARMOUTH — Having recently marked a year since a new board of directors, new officers and a new set of bylaws were approved, the North Yarmouth Memorial Park Corp. is gaining members and hoping to reach out to as many resident veterans as possible.
The independent nonprofit, state-licensed corporation oversees long-range planning and protection of the North Yarmouth Veterans Memorial Park. The park at the corner of Memorial Highway (Route 9) and Parsonage Road encompasses approximately five acres and was created in 1949 on land provided by Henry Sweetser.
The corporation hosted a rededication ceremony at the park on Flag Day, June 14. This past Veterans Day, the group commemorated the 50th anniversary of America’s involvement in the Vietnam War.
“We extended invitations to all the Vietnam veterans that we knew of,” corporation President Eric Robinson said in an interview Dec. 10, adding that his group probably missed some, since members had a hard time finding the names of all the town’s veterans.
“In today’s world, it’s hard to get that information,” unless it is volunteered, said Robinson, who served in the Navy from 1979-1985.
The corporation hopes to gain that information through its website, northyarmouthveteransmemorialpark.org. The group seeks current or past North Yarmouth residents who serve or have served in the U.S. armed forces – or who have a loved one, living or deceased, who has – to fill out a form on the website’s Veterans Registration section.
The corporation will use the information provided to keep those interested informed about veterans’ activities in town. Limited information – the person’s full name, dates of service, rank and branch or branches of service – will be provided to the North Yarmouth Historical Society.
“We’ve always been at war … and we still are sending young men and women into battle,” Darla Hamlin, a member of the corporation’s board of directors who is working on the group’s website, said Dec. 10. “And I just want to know that past and future veterans receive recognition at whatever level they choose.”
“The only way we can do that,” she added, “is to know who they are. Because there is no national database, or state database, of veterans.”
One project on the group’s horizon is asking a local Boy Scout who wants to earn the rank of Eagle Scout to extend the park trail that reaches down roughly 500 feet to the park monument, at the corner of Route 9 and Parsonage Road, Robinson said.
The group also plans to create a small parking area for visiting the monument; many visitors tend to park across the street at North Yarmouth Memorial School.
Fundraising has also been ongoing for permanent flag poles to be installed near the monument, Robinson said.
Potential members do not have to be veterans, although an association with North Yarmouth – such as current or past residency – is required, Robinson explained. Family members of veterans associated with North Yarmouth are also eligible, he said.
“We’re always trying to improve membership,” Robinson said, noting that the ranks have increased to 42 from about 25 last fall.
Corporation meetings tend to be held one Wednesday a month, and dates are published on the town calendar at northyarmouth.org.
Those who want to become involved with the corporation can reach Robinson at 449-7923 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eric Robinson is president of the North Yarmouth Memorial Park Corp., which is seeking new members and the names of past and current veterans associated with the town.