Worthington's veterans memorial receives $1,000 from the Rachuy family
“It’s a regular history of Nobles County,” said Mike Kuhle of the Freedom Shore Park and Veteran’s Memorial.
WORTHINGTON — Born in Worthington, Kenneth L. Rachuy enlisted in the Navy and served as a medical assistant until his honorable discharge, marrying Joy Nienkerk, also from Worthington, a few years later.
While Kenneth died in January this year, his legacy lives on in the form of a $1,000 donation to the Freedom Shore Park and Veteran’s Memorial from Joy and his other family members.
“He would be glad,” Joy said. “I talked to our children, and they both thought this was a good way to spend memorial money in honoring their father.”
The money will be used for maintenance and upkeep for the park, said Mike Kuhle, president of the Freedom Veterans Memorial board.
The memorial, which features a gazebo, flags, service branch monuments and paver stones that honor veterans by name, was formally dedicated in May 2007 along the bank of Lake Okabena.
While the memorial was being designed, veterans were adamant that they didn’t want people to walk on the pavers, so the beds that hold them are slanted upward, making for easier viewing for park visitors, Kuhle said.
“It’s a regular history of Nobles County,” Kuhle said. “A lot of the families have their pavers from their family members all together, and you can see the dates of service.”
That makes it all the more important to him to keep the memorial in good shape.
“These types of donations, we’re so fortunate to get them. We don’t get enough of them,” Kuhle added. “We’re so thankful that we can get donations like this.”
The American Legion Haack-Good in Bigelow also contributes to the park’s upkeep with an annual donation.
Some of the funds from the Rachuy bequest will likely go toward the purchase of new flag sets, which the park goes through at a rate of about four or five sets per year due to the windiness of the site, or even flag poles, which have needed replacement a couple times since the memorial was dedicated.
Additional paver beds were recently added to the memorial for the second time, and now there’s room for about 230 more pavers, Kuhle said.
“Nobles County, they’ve been incredibly good at recognizing the veterans over the years,” he added. “There’s been a lot of veterans sacrificed over the years.”
The Rachuy family also donated money to the Martin County veterans’ wall, but Joy felt it was important to give in Worthington as well.
“I was born and raised over there,” she said. “My heart is still in Worthington.”