Waco, Tx — Building plans for a new memorial in Waco have been slow going, due to the need to raise more funds. However, by partnering with local banks and creating a Facebook page, leaders hope to get construction underway for the Doris Miller Memorial within the next year or so.
The grassy area, off of MLK Boulevard, neighboring the Brazos River is the future home of a memorial honoring Navy hero, Doris Miller.
"Doris Miller was the first African American to be awarded the Navy Cross. And, this was during World War II at Pearl Harbor," said Doreen Ravenscroft, President of the Cultural Arts of Waco.
The Bledsoe Miller Recreation Center next door was already named in Miller's honor, prior to planning the memorial. But, city leaders have said a newer and bigger tribute is needed for remembering the Waco native. Ravenscroft says the old memorial “seemed to have disappeared”. So, fundraising is going on now to collect the 1.3 million dollars needed to build. The fundraising efforts began on Memorial Day 2011.
"The concept is the outside of a ship. And, you also walk along the side of the ship. And, as you're walking along the side, you see some of the history of Doris Miller," said Ravenscroft.
Already, 147 thousand dollars have been raised. And, the city donated the land in 2010, overlooking downtown Waco.
"To have all these incredible, historical features in the background, it's a perfect site," said Ravenscroft.
A Facebook page and partnerships with four local banks, leaders hope will help raise more awareness and bring in funding.
"I think the economy has slowed us down a little."
Ravenscroft and other Doris Miller Memorial officials hope to break ground by June 2013.