Slideshow: Councilman raises thousands for Doris Miller Memorial through ski trip
A Waco city councilman raised nearly $25,000 toward the Doris Miller Memorial in downtown Waco through a ski trip along the Mississippi River this summer.
In seven days, Jim Holmes and his family traveled 1,700 miles on jet skis to raise funds for the project, which aims to honor Waco's hometown hero.
"The primary purpose is finishing this memorial and getting back into community conversation," Holmes said. "To me the Doris Miller Memorial, not only recognizes Doris Miller but it also recognizes all military: active duty, veterans, and with a specific bent to those who gave their lives in the line of duty as Doris Miller did," Holmes said.
Miller, who served in the U.S. Navy, manned an unattended deck gun, firing at attacking planes during the attack at Pearl Harbor in 1941.
"He's a Waco hero in so many different ways. The fact that his military service and the fact he gave his life for this country and he did some pretty special things in the civil rights movement," Holmes said.
The councilman returned from his trip last week. Along the way, he met with St. Paul, Minnesota Mayor Melvin Carter and New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell.
Doreen Ravenscroft with Cultural Arts of Waco who has been coordinating the project said she is thankful for the councilman's efforts.
"It means a member of our community who is extremely well respected represents our community in many different parts of the state and the U.S. is behind us in supporting this. It's really going out of his way to do something unique and different that will make more awareness of the project," Ravenscroft said.
She said crews have made significant progress in the project, completing 75 percent of phase one of the memorial. Workers have poured the concrete of the reflective pool and a second pool that will hold a steel haul. Currently, $100,000 is still needed to finish the first phase.
"It's important for the community, it's important for the City of Waco. I think as a city, we are leading the way honoring someone from WWII as an African-American citizen," Ravenscroft.
The second phase of the project includes building the steel haul, which raises out of the water. Ravenscroft said $850,000 are still needed to finish that portion of the project.
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