Final push begins for vets' memorial
WORTHINGTON -- Two years ago, Simon Koster conceived of constructing a memorial to honor past, present and future veterans in the Nobles County area.
"It's been a long process. It seems you go one step forward and one step backward," he said this week.
Today, however, the plan for Nobles County Freedom Veterans' Memorial Park appears within reach. During March and April, members of the memorial committee begin a donation drive that will include brocures and power point presentations for City Council members and county commissioners. Presentations will also be made to individuals and businesses in the hopes of meeting an $85,000 budget.
"We've got the design picked out and ready to go," said committee chairman Mike Kuhle. "It's going to happen. We're hoping to do it by the fall of 2006, if we get the funds to get the granite ordered."
The concrete and granite memorial is to be located at Freedom Shore Park on Lake Okabena. The construction will feature statuary representing the five branches of the Armed Forces -- Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard. Contributors of $1,000 or more will be recognized on a special plaque. For $200, granite pavers will be engraved with the name of a veteran, branch of service and conflict.
Kuhle stressed that Worthington city leaders and service groups are behind the project, and it's an effort that involves all of Nobles County.
The project would mark Worthington's only veterans' memorial where the U.S. flag will be visible at all times.
"We just feel it's important that Nobles County has a memorial to the service branches. It's something that I see in a lot of communities. It's something that Nobles County needs, and it'll be a nice thing to have for ceremonies," Kuhle said.
Koster, a U.S. Air Force veteran from 1963 to 1967, said the local public seems ready to embrace the concept -- a memorial where troops can be appreciated regardless of the fact that some U.S. wars are controversial. Persons can honor loved ones by touching a memorial specifically designed to remember servicemen of all branches and all conflicts, past and present.
"They like that we're doing something to show support for the military people," Koster said. "People are really excited to have something where they can show support for the troops. It's something they can have to put their hand on a wall."