The graphic (shown here in two parts) is a rendering of what the Beadle County Veterans Memorial will look like when it is enhanced. This year’s Leadership Huron class has been one of the groups raising funds for project. PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED
The Beadle County Veterans Memorial Enhancement Committee, along with the Leadership Huron class, is entering the final push to raise money to fund several improvements to the Beadle County Veterans Memorial located at the corner of Third Street and Wisconsin Avenue Southwest.
The vision is to add eight life-size statues, two flag poles and a veterans memorial wall with bricks inscribed with the names of veterans who have a connection to Beadle County.
“These enhancements will add a lot of interest and history to the memorial,” said Keith Schrader, the memorial enhancement coordinator. “One of the statues will be of Michael J. Fitzmaurice, our area Congressional Medal of Honor recipient.”
Schrader is quick to point out that the current granite pillars that stand in the memorial will remain, but he says only those veterans killed in action in past wars are listed on the pillars. The new memorial wall will be used to honor all veterans who served.
“There are many other veterans out there dating back to World War I days to present conflicts who gave everything requested of them and so much more,” Schrader said. “Some were wounded, some lost limbs, many were discharged with post-traumatic stress disorder, many, many families were disrupted. I could go on and on about what so many wonderful people have given for this great country of ours,” he said.
And that is why Beadle County veterans groups and Leadership Huron decided it was time to erect a monument to honor all honorably discharged and active-duty veterans.
“We think for the reasons mentioned that the time has come to honor and recognize all Beadle County veterans,” said Schrader. “The wall will be built to accommodate bricks with the names of veterans etched into them. All veterans with ties to Beadle County are eligible to be part of the wall.”
Schrader went on to explain that a brick may be purchased by anyone wishing to honor a veteran, living or deceased. Any veteran, family member or friend may sponsor a veteran’s name. Each brick can accommodate two lines of 14 characters each, so a donor can choose to add a line of information under the name or put two names on one brick. The cost is $125.
“What better way to recognize veterans for all they gave serving our country than by having their names put on a beautiful and lasting wall of honor at the Veterans Memorial,” Schrader said.
The name of any veteran with ties to Beadle County may be included on the wall, such as new residents to the area, those who have moved away or those who have family living in Beadle County.
He is also very emphatic in his quest to be sure all Beadle County veterans are included.
He said there is a fund available to help pay for bricks for veterans or families who are not able to buy one outright. He explained that the veteran or a family member should fill out the donation form and submit it to the committee with whatever amount they can afford. He also encourages community members and businesses to donate to this fund to help get every veteran listed.
“We don’t want any veteran or any family member to be left out because of the cost of a brick,” Schrader said. “We are willing to help if we know there’s a need.”
Standing in front of the wall, scattered among the granite pillars dedicated to each conflict, will be the statues. Along with Fitzmaurice, there will be a statue representing women in the service, others depicting the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Merchant Marines, and one of a service dog.
The statues will be completed and installed within the next few weeks, Schrader explained, with a dedication ceremony planned for July 4. The wall and the bricks will take more time to complete, with a final dedication tentatively set for Memorial Day 2014. Because of the time required to have all the bricks engraved, the final deadline for ordering a brick is July 4. Along with mailing them in, donation forms may be brought to the statue dedication. This deadline is for bricks that will be in place prior to the wall dedication. The wall is actually being built large enough to accommodate additional bricks in the future.
“We believe the enhancements of the memorial will make it more recognizable as a veterans memorial and not just another park,” Schrader said.
Members of the enhancement committee and Leadership Huron are available to make presentations to community clubs, volunteer organizations, churches or service groups. To request a presentation, or for any questions or comments, please contact Schrader at 352-4893 or Mark Davis at 354-5238.
Donation forms may be mailed to Leadership Huron/Beadle County Veterans Memorial at 1725 Dakota Ave. S., Huron, S.D. 57350.For the complete article see the 05-19-2013 issue.
Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 05-19-2013 paper.