Veterans memorial proposed for Slayton
SLAYTON -- Plans for constructing a Murray County Veteran's Memorial in Slayton are moving forward after the Murray County Board of Commissioners recently approved the proposed site for the project.
Development of the memorial honoring Murray County veterans is being spearheaded by the Ervin March Post 64 American Legion of Slayton.
Two years ago, Legion Commander Bob Gass first brought the idea to other Legion members. The group discussed the project over the course of a couple meetings and then decided to move ahead it.
"Someone said, 'If we're going to do it, we should do it right,"' Gass said. "So that's what we're doing."
The group started to research its options by visiting memorials in other area communities -- Currie, Lake Wilson, Edgerton, Luverne, Worthington and Fulda -- to name a few.
"We took pictures of each one so the guys could see what's out there, and what's available, and what you can do," Gass said.
Drawing from the memorials Legion members visited, the group began drafting plans for the Slayton project.
"A couple guys volunteered to design it, and we took off from there," Gass said.
The county board gave the go-ahead for the project at its Aug. 20 regular meeting and approved the proposed site located east of the Murray County Government Center building.
Current plans for the memorial include a cobblestone pathway and cement statues honoring each branch of military service -- Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard -- plus one statue to honor female veterans.
"There will be one stone in the middle on the top describing what the memorial is dedicated to," Gass added, "and there will be a couple benches and three flags -- the United States flag, the Minnesota State flag and the POW flag."
Gass described the design as "simple and neat" and noted that there will also be a computer kiosk located inside the Murray County Government Center allowing people to access up-to-date information about county veterans.
"That way, we can change the information if we need to and put up as much information up as we can," he said.
The project is estimated to cost between $35,000 and $40,000 and will be the first veteran's memorial in Slayton. Others in Murray County can be found in Fulda, Currie and Lake Wilson, said Gass.
A committee has been formed to begin fundraising efforts, which are expected to begin soon.
Ideally, Gass said he would like to see the project completed quickly.
"I hope we can do it in a year, but it will depend on funds and fundraising," he said.
Gass said he believes receiving the approval of the county board will aid the project and help draw addition support.
"The commissioners were all in favor of it, and that helps you get the backing you need," he said. "We've done a good job as far as investigating what's out there and what's available."
A Navy veteran who served from 1964 to 1970, Gass stressed the importance of honoring the veterans of Murray County who have served their country since the Civil War.
"We need to honor the veterans," he said. "These guys have went through (hard times) all the way through, and we need something to remember them by."