Indianapolis City Market raising funds for plaque to honor WWII vet who served on USS Indianapolis

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Statue of James "Jimmy" O'Donnell at City Market (Photo courtesy of City Market via Kickstarter)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– The Indianapolis City Market is working to raise money for a plaque which will tell the story of a WWII and Indianapolis Fire Department (IFD) veteran.

James “Jimmy” O’Donnell served on the USS Indianapolis and a statue in his honor can be found at the City Market’s Whistler Plaza. The statue shows O’Donnell and the USS Indianapolis, but “does not tell the story of the worst U.S. naval disaster in our country’s history, or of O’Donnell’s part in it,” City Market said in a release.

O’Donnell was a born-and-raised resident of Indianapolis, a graduate of Tech High School Class of 1938, and a Water Tender Third Class in the U.S. Navy on the USS Indianapolis. After surviving the sinking of the USS Indianapolis, O’Donnell remained in the Navy until 1946.

O’Donnell returned to Indianapolis and continued to serve his community as an Indianapolis firefighter; he retired from department in 1981. O’Donnell and his wife Mary Alice were active parishioners at Our Lady of Lourdes. He was a member of the American Legion #0495, the Disabled American Veterans, F.R.A., Amvets, the VFW, Our Lady of Fatima Council of Knights of Columbus, an honorary member of the Sertoma Club, the Firefighters’ Union, and the Stage Hands’ Union. O’Donnell passed away in January 2013.

A crowdfunding campaign is underway to raise $5,500 for a bronze cast plaque to tell that story. The campaign will continue until Oct. 27. If the funding goal is not reached, money from donors will not be charged.

Indianapolis Professional Firefighters Union Local 416 will also hold a fundraiser dinner at their union hall, located at 748 Massachusetts Avenue on Oct. 19 from 5-8 p.m. Admission will be $10 and will include food and drink. All proceeds will be donated to the campaign.

Additionally, Mass Ave Pub will hold a give-back day on Oct. 19. Fifteen percent of food sales during their hours of operation that day will be donated to the campaign.

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