Dance to raise money for Portales war memorial

Freedom New Mexico: Alisa Boswell The corner of Second Street and Main Street in Portales is where a memorial for Roosevelt County war veterans will be located.

Alisa Boswell

A dance with a patriotic theme is being held Saturday night to raise funds for the new $20,000 war memorial being brought to Portales.

According to War Memorial Committee members, the idea for a memorial honoring Roosevelt County veterans who have given their lives in battle stemmed from a 1958 Portales High School class reunion.

“There are absolutely no administrative costs; it’s all volunteer,” committee member Jim Standifer said of the work being put into fundraising for the memorial. “It’s been strictly contributions and we’d like to keep it that way. There’s been big donations and small donations and we thank them all.”

Standifer said along with local individuals and businesses donating funds for the memorial, the committee also raised funds with a booth at the county fair in August.

“I went to a meeting and at the end of it, no one had any ideas of how to raise the rest of the money,” committee member Derrell Carter said. “I thought, ‘Well, a dance is the best way to do anything.’”

Standifer said about $17,000 have been raised so far for the memorial, which will include names of Roosevelt County veterans who lost their lives from World War I to present. He said names are still being collected.

“Obviously we can’t list them all,” Standifer said of the more than 900 Roosevelt County veterans. “So we are honoring the ones who made the supreme sacrifice and lost their lives in combat.”

Carter said along with the memorial, family members of local veterans involved in the Baatan Death March are compiling stories together to make a history journal of the event, which will be donated to the Portales Municipal Schools.

“They (veterans) never talked about it, so a lot of that history’s gone,” Carter said. “That was the reason for doing this journal was seeing the affect these things had on veterans and their families.”

Standifer and Carter said the Memorial Dance will include live music by Will Banister and the Mulberry Band, a concession stand and a Powerpoint presentation with pictures and background of veterans to be placed on the memorial.

“It took a lot of work to find photographs and names,” said committee member Larry Smith, who said a lot of the research has been done by member Melvita Walker.

Standifer and Carter said a hat, donated by Skinner’s Western Wear, will be raffled off at the event.

“This memorial is commemorating all Roosevelt County veterans from all the wars, Standifer said. “The overall affect of their sacrifice was maintaining the democratic lifestyle of America.”