Highway Memorial Grant

The David Dewett Veterans Memorial along U.S. Highway 101 in North Bend.

NORTH BEND — Point Man Ministries, a local nonprofit Christian organization, is working on expanding the David Dewett Veterans Memorial Wayside located north of the McCullough Bridge on U.S. Highway 101.

For the last two years, the group, which focuses on providing support for veterans and their families suffering from PTSD, has been working on raising funds for the expansion which is estimated to costs about $50,000.

Ron Van Vlack, of Point Man Ministries, said about a month ago the group learned of a possible grant opportunity and partnership after speaking with Coos County Commissioners.

Following a suggestion from Commissioner Bob Main, Van Vlack said the group joined forces with the Coos County Parks Department and enlisted their help in applying for a grant through the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.

If awarded, the group will receive about $40,000. According to Van Vlack, he along with fellow members Ron Anstine, Mark Winders and Rick Anderson will be traveling to Salem next week to attend a meeting hosted the grant’s review board.

The proposed expansion will include installing a new irrigation system, a Gold Star monument and a Battle Cross monument. The Battle Cross monument will be placed on a large concrete star with three bridge railings around it on the north end of the memorial.

Van Vlack, a Vietnam and Iraqi Freedom veteran who served 30 years in the Oregon Army National Guard, said the monuments will honor both the families and soldiers who lost their lives during war.

In the future, he also mentioned adding a bronze statue of a woman kneeling before the memorial to honor women in military families who waited for their loved ones while they were away.

In the early 2000’s, Point Man Ministries first began its journey toward creating a veterans memorial by securing the property where the memorial currently stands through the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Adopt-a-Highway program.

It was later named after member and Navy veteran David Dewett, who passed away in 2005 from cancer, to honor his commitment and hard work to the cleanup and creation of the memorial. The OPRD will announce its grant recipients in April.

With that in mind, Van Vlack said construction will likely begin this summer. He added the group has also made arrangements with Lighthouse Landscape, West Coast Contractors and Knife River for their services on the expansion.

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Reporter Amanda Linares can be reached at 541-266-2039 or by email at amanda.linares@theworldlink.com.