University Museum fundraises for memorial

The University Museum is helping with a fundraising effort to erect a memorial for local fallen soldiers. The effort is spearheaded by Douglas and Jill Garbs, parents of U.S. Army Ranger Spc. Ryan C. Garbs. Ryan Garbs was killed in action in Zabul Province, Afghanistan in 2007.

The bust for the memorial. photo courtesy of TheBANK of Edwardsville.

“The Gold Star Monument is about the many brave soldiers who have no monument, no memorial to them,” Garbs said. “For us, this is part of our healing and we hope it will serve a similar purpose for the families of these patriots of the Greater Edwardsville Area.”

The funds raised will be, in part, for the creation of the memorial. A portion of the funds will be set aside to maintain the memorial properly, according to Steve Grant, assistant vice president and sales manager, and Grady Ambuel, senior vice president of marketing, both of TheBANK of Edwardsville.

“Doug [Garbs] wanted to make sure that future fallen soldiers would have a place to be remembered as well,” said Grant.

Ken Weber, president of TheEDGEBANK, is leading a grassroots fundraising campaign with the Gold Star Banner program. The banners are being offered at various area businesses for donations of $1 or more.

The memorial will have a bust modeled after Ryan Garbs. The Garbs family decided to replace their sons name tag with a tag reading ‘Our Sons.’ The bust, then, represents all service people from Edwardsville and Glen Carbon that have died in service since WW1.

“It [the memorial] will honor people who died in service from Edwardsville and Glen Carbon,” said Eric Barnett, University Museum director. “We did this mock up to give a sense of what it would look like.”

Doug Garbs has put uncountable hours researching the names that will eventually be part of the memorial. Garbs continues collecting names and information from families in hopes of making the memorial truly representative.

The University Museum put together the model that is being used as a display. The final memorial will be two wings of granite with the bust centered between them. The bust and display are making rounds as the fundraising progresses. According to Grant, Barnett was pivotal for getting the display put together.

The display by the University Museum. photo courtesy of TheBANK of Edwardsville.

“Personally, working with Eric and his group has been phenomenal,” said Grant. “He had the idea for making the display truly represent the memorial. And he did it.”

The goal for the fund is $40,000. TheBANK of Edwardsville has contributed $5,000 with a matchin goal fund of an additional $5,000 according to

“The display will be up at the bank for the rest of the month,” according to Barnett.

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