Donations needed to make Hands Across The Border happen

Published on Mon, Apr 19, 2010 by Tara Nelson

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Organizers for the annual Hands Across The Border ceremony are seeking donations to make this year’s event possible.

John Liebert, a Blaine City Councilor and member of the Peace Arch Association, the group that organizes the event, said Hands Across The Border has been postponed the past two years because of the General Service Administration’s ongoing reconstruction of the Peace Arch border crossing facility.

Because the event will coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America and the Girl Guides of Canada, however, PAA members have elected to have the celebration in spite of the construction constraints.

Funding for past events came from the VFW and American Legion clubs throughout the country but Liebert said because of recent cancellations, they’ve fallen out of the funding loop. Now they are looking for private donations to pay the $5,000 needed for closure of the highway, toilet rentals and liability insurance.

Liebert added a local individual has promised to match up to $2,500 for funds that are raised before May 7.

“We will have two weeks, basically, to get this done,” he said.

The event brings together an average of 10,000 youth and veterans from the United States and Canada to commemorate the anniversary of the dedication of the Peace Arch and celebrate peace and international cooperation between those.

Construction on the Peace Arch monument began in 1920 and the 67-foot structure was dedicated in September 1921. Half of the arch rests in each country. The park surrounding the arch was paid for through pennies donated by school children in Washington and British Columbia.

Checks can be made to the Peace Arch Association, PAA or Hands Across The Border and dropped off at the Blaine Visitor Center or mailed to P.O. Box 1357, Blaine, Wash. 98231. For more information, call 332-8981.