Lakeview Cemetery signs honor Cottonwood County veterans
WINDOM – A member of the Iowa’s Matyr Regiment during the Civil War, the first Cottonwood County militia to sacrifice his life in World War I, a well-decorated World War II veteran active in a number of Windom-area organizations and five Vietnam War militia who sacrificed their lives are just a selection of Cottonwood County veterans that will soon have a permanent presence at Lakeview Cemetery in Windom.
The Windom Cemetery Association, a number of project supporters and the Windom-area community celebrated the dedication of Lakeview Cemetery street signs on Sunday. The first street names in cemetery history will honor nine Cottonwood County militia who fought for America’s freedom from the Civil War era to Vietnam.
“It’s over the top,” said Windom Cemetery Association Board Member Joanne Kaiser about the board’s excitement to unveil a decade-long project. “We really are excited about it.”
Kaiser said the cemetery association actively began researching the county’s veteran history about three years ago with the idea of dedicating a street sign in honor of veterans from a variety of Cottonwood County communities.
With help from the Cottonwood County Historical Society, the association was able to learn about a number of veterans and their descendants, a number of whom still reside in the county. Kaiser said the association had special assistance from Janelle Kaye, the daughter of one of the honored veterans.
Veterans that a street will be dedicated in their honor and the wars they served in include: John B. Purrington, Civil War; Martin P. Borseth, WWI; Charles S. Willsher, WWII.
Vietnam War heroes killed in action to be honored include: William F. Nelson, Roger G. Carey, Vernon S. Tscherter, Thomas L. Piper, Lawrence D. Gosen and Erwin J. Harder.
Of those honored, five are buried in the Lakeview Cemetery. Those include Purrington, Borseth, Willsher, Carey and Tscherter. With the help from the American Legion, Sunday’s event honored each veteran buried in the cemetery with a tall flag by their grave.
The program also included music by the Windom Community Band.
Kaiser said the street signs honoring veterans are also meant to represent all area veterans who not only died, but suffered, both during wars and post-wartime.
“And the families that suffered, too,” she added.
Kaiser said in determining the signs themselves, the association was passionate about creating a design unique from typical street signs.
Fast Global Solutions took on the task of designing the signs. The manufacturer north of Windom also donated them to the effort.
“We were very appreciative of that,” Kaiser said.
Not only will the signs honor veterans, it will also increase the functionality of the cemetery, Kaiser said.
“When people are looking for a grave, it’s going to be much easier for folks to find,” she said.
Kaiser attributed the completion of the project to an entire group effort, including generous donations from individuals and businesses.