The monument to a revered Winnipeg veteran is in big need of repair, and a local vet is hoping to get the job done in time for a summer re-dedication.
Don Mackey, chair of the Sgt. Tommy Prince, MM Memorial Fund, has expended a great deal of effort trying to repair and remount the monument to Prince located at Veterans Plaza at Battery Street and Selkirk Avenue.
Mackey served with Prince at the Fort Osborne Barracks in Winnipeg. Mackey was motivated to honour Prince’s legacy after seeing a documentary that focused not on Prince’s receipt of the Silver Star or Military Medal, but on his post-war alcoholism and destitution.
"I was so disgusted with the documentary that I decided there and then to do something positive to show the general public that Tommy Prince was an excellent soldier," Mackey wrote in a package sent to The Times. Mackey went on to become instrumental in erecting monuments to Prince and having an Army Cadet Corps. named after him.
But Mackey, now 80, is finding it more and more difficult to handle the job himself. As the day-to-day caretaker for both his 78-year-old wife and their ailing daughter, much of his time is spent tending to their needs. But concerning Prince’s memorial, there is still a long way to go in terms of fundraising.
"I will have to raise $3,000 to repair and remount the monument," Mackey states in a letter.
"It is hoped to raise the $3,000 in time to re-dedicate it in July 2013."
The monument, Mackey notes, has been vandalized on multiple occasions. It’s currently located at Eden Memorials in Riverdale for repairs, though the monument will have to be shipped to Quebec for some resurfacing.
The monument also needs to have the laser etching on its medals replaced, and new holes need to be drilled into the base and bed of it in order to tie the monument to its foundation.
With less and less time to see to the monument’s care, Mackey is looking not only for donations toward the memorial’s restoration, but also for a new organization to take the reins of the project.
"The sooner we can do it, the better. It’s really putting the pressure on," he said.
Donations can be made out to: The Manitoba Indigenous Cultural Education Centre Inc., 119 Sutherland Street , Winnipeg, MB, R2W 3C9.
Tax receipts will be issued by the centre, who will in turn forward the donations to Mackey.
Those interested in taking over the monument can contact Mackey via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.