After several years of fundraising, the Ave Maria Veterans Association held a ground-breaking ceremony for a Veterans Monument on Monday, April 17, at 11 a.m. The monument will be located two blocks north of the Ave Maria Catholic Church along Ave Maria Boulevard, near the walkway around the large central community lake.

The monument, spearheaded by the Ave Maria Veterans Association, has received funding support from a variety of community sources including Ave Maria Mutual Funds, the William and Patricia LaMothe family foundation, the Del Webb Veterans club and smaller private donations. The effort also received funds from the 2023 Sunshine Steak Cook-off, matched in part by Modern Woodmen, as well as two community golf events and the sales of 400 flagpoles and flags installed throughout the community. 

The monument site was provided to the Association through a long-term lease with Barron Collier Development and the Ave Maria Stewardship Committee. Carlos Deternoz of Deternoz Engineering did the design with input from members of the veterans group.


The project is also getting support from area contractors who are contributing materials and services according to Tom Schlessinger, the Association Vice President leading the project. The monument will take up an approximately 60-foot circle with flags of each of the six branches (Army, Marines, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force and Space Force) around the perimeter. An American flag will be in the center. At the back will be a marble wall with a dedication to our service members. Facing the American Flag and the wall will be a stainless steel silhouette of a service member in reflection. The silhouette was donated by Ave Maria resident Marc Moreau. The center will include 8” by 8” pavers that the public may purchase to honor their loved ones.

“We appreciate all the individuals and local businesses who have helped us get to this exciting milestone.  We believe this will be a monument our veterans and the whole community will appreciate and be proud of,” said Schlessinger.

Once completed, dedication for the monument is currently planned for November 11th, Veterans Day. For further information please see the website at or email