POCATELLO — This holiday season, the Pocatello Lions Club is pouncing on the opportunity to help support a community-wide effort to bring the Idaho Gold Star Families Memorial Monument construction a little closer to its finish line by selling one of the Christmas season’s most popular flowers.
The club, which has a goal to sell 600 poinsettias by Christmas, will be donating 50 percent of the proceeds to the memorial and then follow this up with a $1,000 donation to the project.
“One of the reasons why we’re doing this is we raise money to help people in the community,” said Scott Stephens, the Pocatello Lions Club president and an Army veteran of 12 years. “We’ve selected the Gold Star (Memorial) because we know how important that memorial will be to our community.”
The memorial, which was jump-started by local Gold Star Mother Rebecca Webb, has been an ongoing endeavor for over a year now and is expected to be completed by May 2021 with a formal dedication ceremony planned for May 28.
“I would say that as far as the project goes, we’re probably 85 to 90 percent of (the way to reaching) our fundraising goals,” Webb said.
Webb became a member of the service organization American Gold Star Mothers when she lost her son, Idaho National Guard Master Sgt. Christopher V. Webb, in 2017 after he served for almost 18 years.
For the past few years, she has been spearheading the project as chairwoman of the IGSFMM Committee, and in October, the project progressed further when many organizations and groups came together to help with landscaping and planting trees.
The Pocatello Lions Club has also been involved prior to the poinsettia fundraiser when they purchased the coast guard medallion, which will be joined by medallions from all branches in the military as part of the memorial.
“We’ve all been very impressed with Rebecca and wanted to serve and provide in whatever way we can,” Stephens said. “We’re kind of a unique club because we do fundraisers and it does generate money, but a lot of the Lions clubs, a lot of the time, they don’t have a lot of money, but they have a lot of heart. They want to help make things better in their communities.”
Stephens said that the other 50 percent they earn from selling poinsettias will be funneled into other charity-based projects such as Socks for Seniors and Toys for Tots, as well as funding that allows the club to provide medical exams and eyeglasses to those in need.
“I’d love to see it get bigger, but right now, our supplier of poinsettias, usually every year, sets aside 600 for us,” he explained. “I’d love to see it get to the point where we’re selling 1,000 or more just because it generates money that we can then put back into the community.”
It is organizations like the Pocatello Lions Club that have been monumental in helping the memorial come together, Webb said.
“I just would like to tell everybody who has supported the project thank you,” she said. “This project is only being built because of the generosity of so many. And I think people recognize the importance of what this monument represents and that’s very healing for me that … people want to remember who served our country and lost their lives while serving our nation.”
The memorial will be the first Gold Star monument in all of Idaho.
“I’m grateful,” she continued. “I’m just truly full of gratitude and not only to the businesses and individuals. But I am full of gratitude to my committee members who have worked so hard on the project. I’d just like to thank them and thank everybody who has given to the project. It’s been a community effort really across our state, because this monument is for all of Idaho. We designed it for all of Idaho.”
For those who are interested in purchasing a poinsettia for the Pocatello Lions Club, they can contact Scott Stephens at 208-241-5209 or visit his Facebook page. Those interested in donating to the Gold Star memorial, can visit idahogoldstarmemorial.com for more information.