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Elvis impersonator to perform for veterans memorial benefit

CENTRAL POINT — Answering a need for funding to engrave the names of 29 veterans on the Oregon Fallen War Heroes Memorial, Elvis impersonator Clint Ingbretson is breaking out the sequins and sideburns for two fundraisers.

Ingbretson said he and manager Larry Rosenberg saw media reports that organizers needed nearly $3,000 to inscribe the names, and they sprang into action.

"My father and grandfather were veterans," said Ingbretson, 33. "Larry was in Vietnam and of course Elvis was a veteran, too.

"I just got to thinking how unfair that these people gave their lives for their country and can't even be remembered because their names haven't been added yet."

It costs $100 to engrave one name, but project organizers say the engraver might be able to get the price down to as low as $65.

Ingbretson will perform alongside vocalist Frank Ricci at 8:30 p.m. Saturday at the Red Lion Hotel, 200 N. Riverside Ave., Medford. On Friday, Nov. 4, Ingbretson will appear at a variety show at the Southern Oregon Moose Lodge, 241 E. Barnett Road, Medford. Food will be served at 6 p.m. and the show kicks off an hour later with all proceeds benefiting the war memorial.

State Rep. Dennis Richardson, R-Central Point, said he was encouraged by the community's response to the need for funding at the memorial site.

Richardson, who co-founded the memorial project in 2008 along with Central Point resident Marty Terrell, said a small reserve of funding is in place to deal with acts of vandalism or unexpected expenses but not nearly enough to engrave the missing names.

"It's wonderful that Ingbretson is using his talents to promote such an important cause," Richardson said.

"The community has been very supportive."

Richardson said he was saddened to know there were 29 names waiting to be added to the site. Lists were compiled by Terrell and by city of Central Point recreation coordinator Sarah Garceau from various state and local sources.

"Families come from all over the state to spend time at the memorial and to see the names of their son or daughter who has been killed. They'll do tracings on the black plaques and take them home," he said.

"It's a source of both healing and remembrance so our goal is to make sure we never forget those who gave their lives for our state and for our country."

The memorial is located on Hammerick Road near the old Central Point cemetery. For more information on the memorial, visit http://www.oregonwarmemorial.com.

Buffy Pollock is a freelance writer living in Medford. Email her at buffyp76@yahoo.com.