WASHINGTON – A D.C. memorial honoring those who fought in Operation Desert Storm is getting a boost in its fundraising efforts after a $100,000 donation from a company.
Pilot Flying J, a chain of truck stops in the United States and Canada, announced Wednesday that it donated $100,000 to help build the National Desert Storm War Memorial.
The $25 million memorial, approved by President Donald Trump in March, honors those who fought in the 1991 conflict, which included the liberation of Kuwait.
“On behalf of our 26,000 team members, we believe this donation is one small way that we can demonstrate how proud we are of the men and women who serve,” Pilot Flying J CEO Jimmy Haslam said in a news release.
The nonprofit behind the memorial is in the beginning phase of fundraising, said Scott Stump, CEO of the National Desert Storm War Memorial.
“There is a 25-step process that we have followed to ensure this memorial is built; and we have been able to secure the funding necessary to quickly move through the process,” Stump said. “Once the National Park Service determines the location of the Memorial, we move to the next phase of rigorous fundraising and finalization of the design concepts.”
The National Park Service hosted meetings last month about two proposed locations for the memorial: the Memorial Circle area at George Washington Memorial Parkway on Columbia Island or at the Constitution Avenue terminus area near 23rd Street NW. The public comment period for the proposed locations ended Monday.
Stump said the non-profit’s preference is the location at Constitution Avenue and 23rd Street because of its proximity to the Vietnam Memorial — Desert Storm was the largest military operation after the Vietnam War, he said. Also, the site is more walkable and closer to other war memorials.
“We hope the National Park Service, and the various commissions that give input, will agree with our preferred location,” Stump said.
When the location is finalized, more rigorous fundraising and outreach efforts will begin, Stump said.
The memorial has a proposed design that takes the shape of a “left hook” military maneuver, which worked very successfully for U.S. forces during Desert Storm.
The nonprofit aims to have the memorial in place by 2020 or, at the latest, 2021 — a year that would mark 30 years since the war.
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