One step closer

Published 5:00 pm Saturday, September 3, 2011

Austin is more than half way to honoring one of its favorite sons.

Mayor Tom Stiehm said he’s raised about $1,300 to buy a new gravestone for Jackie Graves, a 1940s featherweight fighter nicknamed “The Austin Atom” who was one of the top boxers of the era.

Stiehm is spearheading a fundraiser to get Graves a headstone, and he’s looking to raise about $2,000.

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“We’re getting there, and it’s come along probably better than I had thought,” Stiehm said.

Jeff Anderson, of Anderson Memorials in Austin, said his business will cover part of the cost.

Donations were good early on, and one person even donated $500.

“That was really terrific,” Stiehm said. “One more of those would put us over the top, I think.”

While donations have slowed since, Stiehm is still hopeful to he can have a new headstone in place before winter, and he’s hoping more people will come forward with donations.

Stiehm said it’s important to honor cherished Austin residents like Graves. He taklked about putting up plaques each year to honor Austin residents who made an impact.

“Before that, we got to get him a grave stone,” he said.

If enough money doesn’t come in, Stiehm plans to start holding fundraisers.

To make a donation or for more information, call Stiehm at 507-437-4092. Checks can also be sent to Anderson Memorial and are to be made out to “Jackie Graves Memorial c/o Tom Stiehm.”