A group of veterans is working to establish a monument on Guam for the families in the Western Pacific region who lost loved ones in service to the nation.

The plan to build the Pacific Islands Regional Gold Star Families Memorial Monument on Guam is in partnership with the Hershel "Woody" Williams Medal of Honor Foundation, a nonprofit based in Louisville, Kentucky.

The foundation is responsible for establishing 59 Gold Star Families Memorial monuments across the United States with more than 67 additional monuments underway in 45 states, according to its website.

According to Tim Ohno, a retired U.S Army major, who is the project's coordinator on Guam, the project will have a groundbreaking by March 27. The memorial unveiling could take place by September of this year, Ohno said.

The group is seeking potential sponsors for the project to reach its goal of $250,000. With a minimum contribution of $300, a brick with the donor's name – if they so desire – would be inscribed and incorporated into the overall monument layout.

Guam has been chosen as a permanent site for such a monument due to its central location and tradition of serving as a melting pot of citizens from surrounding island nations and territories, according to Ohno.

The site for the monument has been designated by the government of Guam. It will be built at the Gov. Ricardo J. Bordallo Governor's Complex in Adelup, Ohno said.

He said the level of sacrifice from the gold star families on the Pacific islands has been significant. Guam, its neighboring island nations and the Northern Marianas have one of the highest per capita rates of recruits enlisting in the U.S. Armed Forces when compared to all 50 states and 14 territories, he said.

Ohno cited the Federated States of Micronesia alone, with a population of 105,000, has lost more than 10 of its sons and daughters. Guam, Saipan, Palau, and the Marshall Islands all have gold star families whose loved ones have paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the military as well.

"I made a promise ... as long as I'm living and breathing, I'll try to do something that remembers and honors them," Ohno said.

Checks or money orders can be sent to the: Hershel Woody Williams Medal of Honor Foundation ATTN: Pacific Islands Regional Gold Star Families Memorial Monument, 12123 Shelbyville Road, Suite 100, Louisville, KY 40243 or visit its website at http://www.hwwmohf.org/.

For any questions, contact project coordinator Tim Ohno at 671-682-6340 or email sofintek@yahoo.com.

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