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Eastwood donates $100,000 for veterans cemetery

- Frank Quattrone also gives $100,000; both donations to be challenge grants

By KELLY NIX

Published: October 25, 2013

THE EFFORT to raise funds for the Central Coast Veterans Cemetery at Fort Ord got another considerable lift last week when former Carmel Mayor Clint Eastwood made a $100,000 donation, and the same amount was donated by Wall Street investor and Pebble Beach resident Frank Quattrone and his wife, Denise Foderaro.

Until last week, Eastwood was in New Jersey directing “Jersey Boys,” the film version of the Tony Award-winning musical that documents the career of the 1960s group, The Four Seasons. When he found out about the cemetery drive, Eastwood — who was stationed at Fort Ord during the Korean War — immediately donated to the cause.

“There was some talk about me making a loan, but I said I just wanted to give $100,000,” Eastwood told The Pine Cone Wednesday.

The donation is yet another substantial contribution to veterans by the Hollywood mega-star, who is also a major backer of Gary Sinise’s Wounded Warrior project.

Similarly, Quattrone and Foderaro made their gift after learning of the urgent Fort Ord cemetery fundraising effort.

“It is gratifying to see the community step forward,” Carmel Mayor Jason Burnett said. “We hope that these two gifts will inspire others and we will raise the remaining $200,000 we need by the end of the year. Not only can you now help make the veterans cemetery a reality, gifts will now be doubled.”

Once the $100,000 donations are matched, there will be enough money to pay for the first phase of the cemetery project, estimated to cost $9,414,000. Set on 78.7 acres of land at the intersection of Parker Flats Cutoff and Parker Flats Roads, near the CSUMB campus, the cemetery is expected to serve the burial needs of area veterans for the next 100 years.

The effort to raise funds for the cemetery, recently energized by Burnett and Monterey County Deputy District Attorney Jimmy Panetta, has attracted several other large grants and loans to the project, including $75,000 each in loans by Monterey businessmen Ted Balestreri and Clay Larson.

The David and Lucile Packard Foundation also donated to the cemetery fund a $100,000 grant and a bridge loan to the Fort Ord Reuse Authority in the amount of $350,000, which the agency will repay at a 1 percent interest rate. Individual donations by Monterey County residents have also been steadily pouring in, too.

As a result, Burnett announced last week more than $600,000 in local funds was needed in order for the state to accept about $7 million in federal funds that were already secured for the project.

Panetta said the donations are the “perfect example of the honor and gratitude that the people of this area have for our veterans and their families and their desire for a veterans cemetery right here on the Central Coast.”


Honorable donations

Foderaro and Quattrone donated the $100,000 to honor their respective war-veteran fathers. Foderaro’s dad was a submariner in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War, serving  aboard the USS Tusk (SS-426) on tours in Northern Europe and the Arctic.

“We hope that our contribution in honor of our fathers will help inspire others in our community to come forward and honor veterans in their lives,” Foderaro said.

Quattrone’s father was an Army staff sergeant who served in the Battle of the Bulge during World War II and was preparing to invade Japan just prior to that country’s surrender.

“Monterey County has had a long history of serving the military, and in return, the military presence has benefited our community in multiple ways,” Quattrone said. “We are happy to do our part in making the promise of a veterans cemetery a reality for our veterans and their families.”

Congressman Sam Farr, Sen. Bill Monning and Assemblyman Mark Stone were also instrumental in obtaining federal and state funds.

Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez provided $1 million from state taxpayers, which will come from the Assembly’s budget. Pérez plans to transfer money resulting from savings in the Assembly’s own budget over the last year to the Veterans Cemetery Endowment Fund.

Donations to the cemetery can be made at www.ccveteranscemetery.org or by calling the Community Foundation for Monterey County at (831) 375-9712.