Introduction of the Veterans Tribute of Oakland Township

A Groundbreaking Ceremony was held on Wednesday, August 30, at the site that will be the Veterans Tribute of Oakland Township (VTOT). Local and county officials were present, as well as Board members, and a number of the donors who are supporting the effort. The tribute is located on the west side of Adams Road, between Dutton and Silverbell Roads.

Groundbreaking Ceremony of the Veterans Tribute of Oakland Township with Stephen McKay – VP, Cranbrook Custom Homes (architect), Nico Moceri – son of Dominic Moceri, (future US Marine), Mark Newman – Director of Public Services for Oakland County, Tim Reese – Director, VTOT (Colonel, US Army, retired), Terry Gonser – Director, VTOT (former Supervisor of Oakland Township), Mike Bishop – U.S. Congressman, 8th District, MI, David Sokol – Director, VTOT (US Army Veteran), Dennis DaSilva – Director, VTOT (US Air Force Veteran), Michael Bailey – Supervisor, Oakland Township, Michal Harris – member, Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America (USMC Veteran) - photo by Michael Dwyer

Groundbreaking Ceremony of the Veterans Tribute of Oakland Township with Stephen McKay – VP, Cranbrook Custom Homes (architect), Nico Moceri – son of Dominic Moceri, (future US Marine), Mark Newman – Director of Public Services for Oakland County, Tim Reese – Director, VTOT (Colonel, US Army, retired), Terry Gonser – Director, VTOT (former Supervisor of Oakland Township), Mike Bishop – U.S. Congressman, 8th District, MI, David Sokol – Director, VTOT (US Army Veteran), Dennis DaSilva – Director, VTOT (US Air Force Veteran), Michael Bailey – Supervisor, Oakland Township, Michal Harris – member, Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America (USMC Veteran) – photo by Michael Dwyer

The goal of the VTOT is to honor the patriotism and valor of military veterans, past, present, and future. The VTOT also wants to provide a space for local civic, educational, religious, and related groups to hold appropriate ceremonies throughout the year. As such, the VTOT chose to design and build a tribute in lieu of a memorial. A local architect, landscape designer, and engineering firm came together and designed a unique, inspirational, open and airy concept.

Tim Reese, Director of the VTOT, welcomes guests to the Groundbreaking Ceremony - Photo by Michael Dwyer

Tim Reese, Director of the VTOT, welcomes guests to the Groundbreaking Ceremony – Photo by Michael Dwyer

The Tribute’s focal point will be six massive glass panels, 14-feet tall and 4-feet wide, one for each of the Military Services – Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, Merchant Marines, and Air Force in ascending order of their dates of commission. Each glass panel will be laser inscribed with the Service crest, the date the Service was established and the Service’s motto. These glass panels will be lit with internal LEDs so each will glow with the etchings highlighted.

Terry Gonser, VTOT Director and former Supervisor of Oakland Township, speaks to the crowd - Photo by Michael Dwyer

Terry Gonser, VTOT Director and former Supervisor of Oakland Township, speaks to the crowd – Photo by Michael Dwyer

The residents of Oakland Township and Oakland County have been extremely generous. Local and regional businesses have been equally generous – having contributed material, services and pledges to construct significant portions of the Tribute.

Mike Bishop, U.S. Congressman, Michigan's 8th District, addresses guests at the Groundbreaking - Photo by Michael Dwyer

Mike Bishop, U.S. Congressman, Michigan’s 8th District, addresses guests at the Groundbreaking – Photo by Michael Dwyer

See More: Artist Rendition and Site Plans

With the design and engineering work completed, the VTOT is now in the midst of its fundraising campaign. The total cost of the project is $2.3 Million – including the cost of donated land. The VTOT is also creating an endowment fund for perpetual maintenance and upkeep. The Foundation has held several major fundraising events in fall 2016 and spring 2017.

There are three ways to support this project – major sponsorship options, general donations, and purchase of inscribed brick pavers. All are available at the Veterans Tribute website – www.VTOTMI.org. You can also visit their website to leave a message or question and one of the VTOT Directors will contact you.

About Michael Dwyer

Michael Dwyer is a freelance content provider. Michael writes about happenings in the Rochester area, travels across Michigan and destinations around the world. Contact him at [email protected].

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