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Online Auctions Support Pentagon Memorial Fund

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 6, 2005 – The Pentagon Memorial Fund is expected to get a boost in donations through a series of online auctions offered through eBay that began Oct. 5.

The auctions, which will run through Oct. 15, feature a variety of items ranging from tickets to sporting events to golf packages to limited-edition renderings of the Pentagon Memorial and other collector's items, James Laychak, president of the Pentagon Memorial Fund, Inc., told American Forces Press Service.

All proceeds from the auctions will go to the Pentagon Memorial Fund, a fundraising effort aimed at building a lasting memorial to those killed during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the Pentagon.

Among items being featured on the eBay Web site is a weekend at the Indianapolis 500, including tickets to the public driver's meeting, the 500 Festival Parade, suite tickets and pit passes for the race and the victory celebration that follows.

Four tickets to the Atlantic Coast Conference football championship game in Jacksonville, Fla., also are up for bid, along with 11 museum-quality renderings of the Pentagon Memorial, signed by concept designers Julie Beckman and Keith Kaseman.

Other items will include tickets to "Disney on Ice," a Ringling Brothers circus performance, a U2 concert, the International Spy Museum, a driver's meeting at the Indianapolis 500, restaurant meals and hotel stays, Laychak said.

Along with descriptions of the items being auctioned, the eBay site describes the Pentagon Memorial Fund and provides a link to the Pentagon Memorial Fund Web site. Similarly, the Pentagon Memorial Fund site links to the eBay auction.

Laychak called that visibility a double benefit for the fundraising effort. In addition to bidding on auction items, visitors to eBay also can make donations directly to the memorial fund, he said.

The eBay auctions are part of an extensive fundraising effort that's raised $9.2 million so far for the memorial, Laychak said. That's more than halfway toward the foundation's goal of raising $18 million to build the memorial, Laychak said. The group also seeks to raise $10 million toward an endowment fund to maintain the memorial.

"We've made an amazing amount of progress," Laychak said, particularly in light of competing fundraising efforts to support relief efforts for the Indian Ocean tsunami and hurricanes along the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Continued progress depends on keeping the fundraising effort in the public eye and continuing to go after not just corporate, but also private donations, he said.

The Pentagon Memorial Fund, Inc., sponsored a tent at the Pentagon Sept. 10 and plans to do the same during the Army-Navy football game in Philadelphia on Dec. 3, Laychak said.

"We're trying to keep a presence out there," he said.

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