Bell tower to honor veterans

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:40 pm

Greg Kolton is leading an effort to create the Veteran’s Bell Tower Memorial, a proposed three-story, 58-foot-tall bell tower boasting a set of eight bells.

The tower is designed to honor Wisconsin’s veterans and serve as an educational destination, where school children and interested persons can learn about Wisconsin’s war heroes.

 “We want to honor these people and never forget,” said Kolton, chief executive officer of Foundations Bank. “And it’s going to be a tremendous asset for the community. I think there will be a tremendous tourism draw for educational purposes from southeastern Wisconsin, maybe even Illinois.”

Kolton has partnered with Pewaukee resident Roland Perschon, who owns a set of eight change-ringing bells made in London, one of 50 such sets in North America.

Kolton, Perschon and other volunteers are leading a fundraising effort to build the bell tower east of Foundation Bank’s headquarters at the intersection of Highway 164 and Capitol Drive in Pewaukee.

The tower, with an estimated cost of $2 million, is being designed by Torke Wirth Pujara LTD, an Elm Grove-based architect firm, Kolton said.

The top floor of the tower will house the bells, which are rung by specially trained volunteers.

Its first floor lobby will have several plasma or LCD screen televisions, which will show movies and documentaries that highlight the contributions of Wisconsin veterans in worldwide conflicts.

The bells, which weigh 359 to 1,059 pounds each, will sound similar to the chiming of Westminster Abbey in England, Kolton said. Last summer, Kolton heard the bells at Westminster Abbey.

“It was hair-raising,” he said. “It doesn’t sound like normal church bells. It’s just really breathtaking.”

A groundbreaking ceremony for the project was held on Nov. 11, Veteran’s Day. However, actual construction has not begun yet, as the fund-raising campaign is ongoing.

They hope to have the project completed before Veteran’s Day 2008, when the group would like to hold a grand opening celebration.

Foundations Bank, Ellenbecker Investment Group Inc., Ideas2, Torke Wirth Pujara LTD, Total Team Construction LLC and Web Centers of America Inc. have already signed on as sponsors for the bell tower’s construction. The group is looking for additional sponsors and donors to help finance the center’s construction, Kolton said.

The group has launched a Buy A Brick campaign, with bricks costing between $100 and $1,000.

A Web site (www.veteransbell-tower.com) has been created to spread the word about the bell tower. Contribution and sponsorship information is available on the site. Checks can be mailed to: Wisconsin Bell Tower Memorial, P.O. Box 90, Pewaukee, WI 53072.

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