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160 Mile Paddle from Mount Vernon to Marietta is dedicated to William Gaines Jr.

August 7, 2020

The Fourth Annual 160 Mile Paddle from Mount Vernon to Marietta is dedicated to William Gaines Jr., a United States Marine who was killed in Beirut, Lebanon in 1983. He was just 21 years-old.
It’s all been in the works for more than 10 years, Commissioner Stephen R. Deutsch told the Sun. The goal in adding the road is to improve safe access, Deutsch said, and access from the roundabout is safer for westbound traffic than at the main entrance.

A Story That Must Be Told

February 23, 2019

Beirut Veterans are honored at park dedication
With many Beirut veterans and family members in attendance, the highlight of this groundbreaking ceremony was announcing the future construction of the Beirut Peacekeepers Memorial Tower. It will be a place to reflect on, learn about, and enjoy the freedom and sacrifice of others for generations to come.

Fundraiser honors fallen Marine

From the Charlotte Sun

February 17, 2019

PUNTA GORDA — On Saturday, there was a fundraiser to benefit the William R. Gaines Veteran Memorial Park and proposed Beirut Memorial Peacekeeper Tower.

The event was held at the American Legion Post 103 in Punta Gorda.

The Boogiemen provided snazzy tunes and Stacks Comfortable Food provided snacks and refreshments.

A three story, 45-foot Beirut Memorial Peacekeeper Tower will stand at the center of William R. Gaines Jr. Veterans Memorial Park as a symbol designed to honor those who died in Beirut, according to the park’s website.

The tower will also provide a timeline of major historical events from 1982 to 1984, telling the story of the Marines’ involvement in the area.

The tower is scheduled for completion in late 2019.

The park honors William “Bill” R. Gaines Jr., a Marine and Charlotte High School alum, who was killed in Beirut, Lebanon by the largest non-nuclear bomb ever detonated in 1983. The attack killed 241 Marines, sailors and soldiers.

“The goal of this park is to share the history of the Marines Navy, and Army Peacekeepers in Beirut along with how their sacrifice mirrors those of our First Responders,” the park’s website states. “Highlighting the tie between our Veterans and First Responders in a place where families can come together will not just honor their service, but inspire others to serve.”

The park will be formally dedicated to Gaines on Feb. 23 by the Charlotte County Board of Commissioners.

Proceeds Saturday went to the William R. Gaines Jr. Veteran Memorial Fund to support the new Beirut Memorial Tower.