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Community raising funds to build veterans memorial at Teton-Newdale Cemetery

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IDAHO FALLS –  A St. Anthony man is working to raise funds for a veterans memorial at the Teton-Newdale Cemetery.

Gene Mace is the son of a World War II veteran who was imprisoned in a Japanese-controlled coal mine in the Philippines. His brother, Quinn Mace, has been placing flags on the headstone of every veteran on Memorial Day for the past 15 years.

A total of 255 veterans are buried at the Teton-Newdale Cemetery, which makes up 12.5% of the graves.

“The number of veterans at that cemetery stem from one fact,” Mace says. “Every boy of age (except two) fought in World War II. Two girls went to become nurses.”

From Teton City, 111 men and women fought in World War II, and Mace has spent the past year cataloging every one of them.

“Out of a city of only a population of 300 or less, that was a remarkable percentage,” Mace says.

After searching the cemetery and obituaries, Mace paid a visit to the Plano Cemetery, which has a veterans memorial. That’s when a thought occurred to him — to get one for the Teton-Newdale Cemetery. He started a committee of 10 members and went to the Teton-Newdale board and presented the idea. He got the go-ahead.

Since March, they have been trying to get the word out about their project, which is projected to cost $22,000. Beehive Credit Union has donated $1,000 to the cause. They have raised $5,000 so far. A raffle is in the works where donors have a chance to win guns, a baby quilt, a full-size quilt, baby blanket, beach bag and a 16×20 print of Teton City-Moody Creek veterans from WWII.

They are hoping people will donate more items. For more information, visit the Teton-Newdale Veteran Memorial Facebook page.

The memorial will consist of three different stones. Each stone will represent a different war ranging from World War I to the War in Iraq. The names of the buried veterans will go in the respective war they fought in. A welcome stone will be the first thing visitors encounter, with a map of the locations where veterans are buried, along with the flags belonging to the five branches of the military.

“Between Teton and Newdale, it’s a very patriotic community,” Mace says. “It’s high time we honor them.”

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