Helping Wainfleet honour its fallen heroes

Wainfleet Cenotaph

Niagara Community Foundation press release – It was a project that helped a community honour those Canadians – and Niagarans – who fought and died for their country, for freedom, and for peace.

Previously, Wainfleet residents planning to attend Remembrance Day ceremonies at a cenotaph had to venture to Welland, Port Colborne or Dunnville, recalled Doug Willford.

“Remembrance Day and other services could not be held at a Wainfleet cenotaph, which would have allowed local school children to attend and participate,” he said. “A Cenotaph was integral to the community, especially to the Dutch community, who remain appreciative of what Canada did to liberate their country in the Second World War.”

Willford was part of a committee coordinating a project to bring a cenotaph to Wainfleet. The effort was spearheaded by the Wainfleet Historical Society, boosted by a key $7,500 grant from the Wainfleet Community Fund at the Niagara Community Foundation.

The completed granite Cenotaph, dedicated to the brave people of Wainfleet who “served during war and peace,” was dedicated on October 19, 2014. It immediately struck a chord, said Willford. “Right from the very outset, the project was well received and had a positive impact on the community. Over 200 people attended the dedication ceremony and almost 400 came to its historic first Remembrance Day service.”

“Words cannot express how thankful the Cenotaph Committee and the citizens of Wainfleet are for this major Community Fund contribution of $7,500.”

The Cenotaph concept was introduced by the Winger-Wainfleet Women’s Institute in a letter to the Wainfleet Historical Society. The concept was approved by the Society and Wainfleet Council. A multi-stakeholder group joined forces to make it happen, including Liz Aldrey, Dorothy Jackson and numerous groups and organizations from the local area.

The Foundation’s Wainfleet Fund supports good causes and projects in Wainfleet. As with all Community Funds, capital is invested and earnings from that support local causes, including arts and culture, education, recreation, social services, health, and the environment.

Additional projects aided by the fund include $10,000 for the Township of Wainfleet and the Wainfleet Agricultural Society to buy portable bleachers, $2,500 for a Community Living of Port Colborne Wainfleet group art-therapy pilot program for children and youth with special needs, and $2,500 to the Wainfleet Public Library to develop an outreach program in partnership with Meals and Wheels. It has also enabled a $1,600 Canada 150 grant to the Wainfleet Historical Society to erect a plaque outlining the history of the Feeder Canal and its significance to Wainfleet.

The Community Fund was presented to Wainfleet Township Council by Kelly Robson in 2010, and it was officially launched a year later. It has since grown to a total endowment of more than $35,000.

“Applying a philanthropic tool like a community fund in Wainfleet just seemed natural,” said Robson, who together with her husband Patrick created their own family fund under the Wainfleet Fund umbrella.

“Wainfleet is at heart a giving community – whether for its annual campaigns like Heart & Stroke and the Canadian Cancer Society to seasonal volunteering for everything, from helping run the annual Marshville Heritage Festival to coaching minor sports. The Wainfleet Community Fund takes this spirit and culture of giving from an annual or seasonal timeframe into a multi-generational legacy and reality.”

The Wainfleet Fund Committee includes Robson, as well as Sharon Svob and Katarina Chataway.

“The Cenotaph is an excellent example of how the community as a whole came together; funding the project were individuals, businesses, organizations and fund dollars from sources such as the Wainfleet Community Fund,” said Svob, also a member of the Niagara Community Foundation Board and Chair of the Foundation’s Grants Committee. “The Grants Committee and the Niagara Community Foundation Board take great pleasure in supporting projects like the Cenotaph, which is seen as an ongoing source of pride by the Wainfleet Community.”

Chataway, who is a Meridian Credit Union branch manager in Wainfleet, is excited by these contributions. In initiatives such as these, the Wainfleet Fund allows Meridian employees and others to “personalize their giving to what is important to them.”

“We know that where we live and do business is very important, and so it contributes to making our community even stronger,” Chataway said.

Projects like the Cenotaph can serve as beacons for small communities, Willford said.

“They are really important to us. This project, and others like it, helps young people remember the importance of their heritage for many years to come.”

Click here to find out how you can you can support the Wainfleet Community Fund or one of our other funds.



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