By Joan Goodchild, Community Reporter
Shrewsbury – An effort to replace a decaying World War I memorial in Shrewsbury received a boost Sept. 26 when students and faculty at the Beal Elementary School presented a $600 donation check to the Shrewsbury Veterans Council.
The 80-year-old monument is in front of the school named for Major Howard Beal, a Shrewsbury resident who practiced medicine in Worcester and was killed in action on the Western Front in 1918. The council intends to raise $150,000 to replace the monument. So far, they have raised about three-quarters of the funding needed.
The $600 donation from the Beal School was made possible by a yearlong coin drive coordinated by Beal Principal Alice Brennan. Beal students were asked to bring their change to school or to the Shrewsbury branch of Central One Federal Credit Union, where it was sorted by a change machine and placed into the WW I Memorial Fund.
At the donation ceremony, World War I Memorial Committee member John Masiello noted that Shrewsbury had lost eight residents in the war at a time when the population was much lower. He noted that the loss of eight residents is the equivalent of losing 200 residents in Shrewsbury by today's population measurements.
“Shrewsbury made significant sacrifices in this war,” Masiello said.
State Rep. Matthew Beaton, R-Shrewsbury, congratulated first-graders in attendance at the ceremony and thanked them for their efforts in the coin drive.
“This puts a big smile on my face because it means you'se remembering your history and you'se doing good for others,” he said to the group assembled on the front stairs of the school.
Monument officials note they are still actively seeking donations for the project. Tax-deductible donations are being collected at the project's website, www.shreww1.org.