Patrick Shabal, a founding member of the Clawson Veteran Memorial project,  stands beside a poster about the project at Clawson City Hall Dec. 11.

Patrick Shabal, a founding member of the Clawson Veteran Memorial project, stands beside a poster about the project at Clawson City Hall Dec. 11.

Photo by Donna Agusti


Clawson Veteran Memorial in search of donations

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published December 18, 2018

 From left, Allen Somers, of Clawson; Jerry Mancour, of Holly; and Patrick Shabal, of Royal Oak, discuss the future of the Clawson Veteran Memorial project at Clawson City Hall Dec. 11.

From left, Allen Somers, of Clawson; Jerry Mancour, of Holly; and Patrick Shabal, of Royal Oak, discuss the future of the Clawson Veteran Memorial project at Clawson City Hall Dec. 11.

Photo by Donna Agusti

 The Clawson Veteran Memorial, located inside Clawson City Hall, memorializes the  names of deceased active-duty service members with ties to the city of Clawson.

The Clawson Veteran Memorial, located inside Clawson City Hall, memorializes the names of deceased active-duty service members with ties to the city of Clawson.

Photo by Donna Agusti

CLAWSON — Almost four years ago, a group led by Clawson veterans embarked on a journey to honor deceased active-duty service members with ties to the community — who either lived in Clawson, attended school in Clawson or owned a business in Clawson.

Founding members Allen Somers, 89, of Clawson, and Jerry Mancour, 85, of Holly, initially estimated they would collect approximately 200 names. To date, their initiative has collected almost 800 names, and that number is growing.

Mancour’s drive for the Clawson Veteran Memorial project is personal.

The day he turned 17, Donald E. Mancour Jr., Jerry Mancour’s older brother, had their father sign so he could serve in the Korean War. 

Founding member Patrick Shabal, of Royal Oak, explained that Donald was severely wounded by a bullet that pierced his jaw and exited through the top of his head. Donald survived, but he spent the next 24 years of his life in more than a dozen hospitals, undergoing a dozen surgeries.

Because he was not killed in action, Somers said they were told Donald’s name could not be added to the city’s war memorial.

“He was dying for 24 years,” he said. “We’re trying to get them all. We really are. It’s a lot of digging, and we get them all the time.”

Somers, who does most of the research for the project, said three plaques mounted inside Clawson City Hall currently hold 240 names, and 504 more names have been verified and are ready to join the memorial.

The names of Somers’ own brothers, Lawrence and Stanley, are on the memorial.

“They gave years of their life. They gave up a life here in Clawson and went to war,” Mancour said.

He said the community now known as Clawson was historically a hub for the surrounding area, including much of Oakland County, which was largely composed of farmsteads. A water-powered mill was the central feature, he said.

The list of names for the memorial is so large, he said, because farming families sent their kids from far and wide to attend school in Clawson.

“They were all bused in after eighth grade to attend the high school,” Mancour said. “Henry Ford, realizing he needed to staff factories, bought up a lot of the farmland property, and he would sell the lots for $5 a parcel, and they built houses here.”

Phase I of the project — the three plaques in City Hall — wrapped up approximately one year ago, funded by Donald’s family and friends.

Phase II will be to complete the additional six plaques and install the insignias of each U.S. military branch overhead, as well as the city of Clawson’s seal. It also includes lighting and a protective rubber rail. Shabal estimates that it will cost $20,000-$30,000.

Phase III will be to install a digital kiosk to showcase the current and future qualifying Clawson veterans.

“It will allow people to come here and apply,” Shabal said. “It will also have interesting facts and stats about these people, where people could contribute information and the family could post pictures of these people.”

He estimates that Phase III will cost $50,000-$100,000.

“We would love for people to check if their loved one is on our directory,” Shabal said. “If not, there is a form to fill out.”

For more information about the Clawson Veteran Memorial or to nominate a veteran, search “Clawson Veteran Memorial” on Facebook.com or email jlmancour@sbcglobal.net. Checks can be made out to Clawson Veteran Memorial c/o Clawson Community Foundation, 425 N. Main St., Clawson, MI 48017.