The committee working to erect a memorial honoring the victims of the Nov. 5, 2009, Fort Hood shooting will break ground for the structure Tuesday.

“We’re more than excited. We’re excited that it’s groundbreaking time,” said former Killeen Mayor Tim Hancock, committee chairman. “It’s been a long time coming. We’re ready to move forward and I think the groundbreaking will help us do that.”

Last month, the committee relaunched its fundraising campaign with a new marketing plan, which included a new website — www.November5Memorial.com.

Hancock said since then, fundraising and interest in the project have picked up.

“It’s encouraging because we are getting businesses calling and asking how they can help; they’re planning events,” he said. “We believe since the marketing has been done, we’re on the move now.”

Hancock expects the effort to continue gaining momentum, especially with the groundbreaking.

“People are commenting on the memorial now, and they’re asking questions,” he said.

The committee needs an estimated $150,000 in monetary donations to erect the structure honoring the 13 killed and 32 injured in the tragic shooting on post.

The memorial will feature a circular, open-air pavilion and 13 black granite columns, each etched with a victim’s name and likeness and supporting a bronze sculpture representing aspects of the victim’s interests and personality.

A large flagpole, which will be illuminated at night, will rise from the center of the pavilion, which will be surrounded by benches and trees.

Ceremony

The groundbreaking ceremony is slated for 9 a.m. Tuesday at the memorial site next to the Killeen Civic and Conference Center, 3601 S. W.S. Young Drive.

The event is free and open to the public.

Hancock, Killeen Mayor Scott Cosper, Brian Vanicek, the visionary of the memorial, and Troy Kelley, memorial sculptor and designer, are among the speakers for the event.

Joleen Cahill, widow of Michael Cahill — the only civilian killed in the shooting — also will speak at the event.

Hancock said the committee hopes to have the memorial built by Nov. 5, so it can be dedicated on the fifth anniversary of the shooting.

More information on the memorial — including artist’s renderings, video interviews and details about how to get involved in the project — can be found at www.nov5memorial.com.

Contact Natalie Stewart at nstewart@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7555

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