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Local VFW post prepares park for Memorial Day

As part of VFW Service Day, members of the local VFW post took to Freedom Shore Park and Veteran’s Memorial on Saturday morning.

During VFW Service Day on Saturday, members of the Worthington VFW post cleaned up Freedom Veterans Memorial Park. Volunteers included Bryan and Noah Clark, Larry Woodbury, Jon Hait, Larry Comnick, Steve Ahlberg, Dale Wilken and Simon Koster.
During VFW Service Day on Saturday, members of the Worthington VFW post cleaned up Freedom Veterans Memorial Park. Volunteers included Bryan and Noah Clark, Larry Woodbury, Jon Hait, Larry Comnick, Steve Ahlberg, Dale Wilken and Simon Koster.
Tim Middagh / The Globe
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WORTHINGTON — Members of Worthington’s VFW gathered at Freedom Shore Park and Veteran’s Memorial on Saturday morning, armed with brooms, hoses and buckets of water. Over the course of the morning, the crew of eight wiped down engraved nameplates and washed away the grime of the year in order to prepare the space for Memorial Day weekend.

“The state VFW asked every VFW post to do some community service,” said VFW Post 3958 Commander Simon Koster. “What we decided to do at our meeting was to clean the veteran's park. We’ve had all our guys out here, scrubbing the pavement, cleaning everything, and getting ready for Memorial Day.”

VFW members Larry Woodbary (rear left) and Jon Hait pause cleaning to remember a Nobles County veteran as they help clean Freedom Veterans Memorial Park for VFW service day Saturday morning.
VFW members Larry Woodbury (rear left) and Jon Hait pause while cleaning to remember a Nobles County veteran Saturday morning as they helped clean Freedom Veterans Memorial Park.
Tim Middagh / The Globe

On Memorial Day, which is May 30, the Legion Honor Gaurd and local VFW chapter will host a memorial service starting at Worthington Memorial Garden Cemetery at 8:30 a.m. From there, the service will move to St. Mary’s Cemetery at 9 a.m., followed by the Worthington Cemetery at 9:30 a.m., and the Veteran’s Memorial Park at 10 a.m., before ending with a band performance and ceremony at Chautauqua Park at 11 a.m.

Dedicated in 2007, this year marks the 15th anniversary since the park was established as a memorial to honor past and present veterans of Nobles County.

Koster, who has been involved with the park since its inception, recalls the crowd that was there for the initial dedication — an estimated 2,000 people by his count. In the years since, Koster said he’s handled a lot of the care that goes into maintaining the park on his own, which made Saturday a welcomed change.

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Bryon Clark sprays down pavers with the names of Nobles county veterans at the Freedom Veterans Memorial Park during VFW service day Saturday morning.
Bryan Clark sprays down pavers with the names of Nobles County veterans at the Freedom Veterans Memorial Park during VFW Service Day Saturday morning.
Tim Middagh / The Globe

“They’re a good bunch of guys, and we all really work well together,” Koster said of the group who came out to help clean the park. “We’re all combat veterans so we just learn to do things together.”

The park has undergone three expansions since its dedication, adding additional pavers displaying veterans’ branch of service, names, and the conflict they served in.

“I’m glad this is here,” said Senior Vice Commander with the VFW, Bryan Clark. “It shows respect to them [veterans] and their families. I appreciate being able to come out and help, anything to give back.”

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Emma McNamee joined The Globe team in October 2021 as a reporter covering Crime & Courts, Politics, and the City beats. Born and raised in Duluth, Minn., McNamee left her hometown to attend school in Chicago at Columbia College. She graduated in 2021 with a degree in Multimedia Journalism, with a concentration in News & Feature Writing and a minor in Creative Writing.
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