Donations will pave the way to make the project a success
By Barbie Porter
The Vergas Lions are planning to break ground on a veteran’s memorial park over Memorial Day Weekend. The proposed memorial stretches 62 feet from end to end.
Vergas Lions member Lyle Krieg said the idea for the memorial was sparked when an off-the-cuff suggestion of a veteran’s memorial came up in conversation. The Lions later discussed the idea and agreed the project would improve the community, honor the veterans and was feasible with fundraising.
The first phase of the project was creating a design for the space, and then getting estimates on the costs for building it. Krieg said the Lions traveled far and wide to look at other veteran memorial parks. They wanted something unique and not a replica of another town’s monument. The Lions agreed the purpose of the memorial would be to honor those who served, are serving, as well as invite dialogue with the younger generation who may not understand the sacrifices those in the military make.
Several months were spent in the research phase before discussion began on design.
“Plans were drawn up, then modified and modified again,” Krieg said.
The final design has two circles, one with a star and the other a smaller circle. There will be granite pillars for each branch of the military and the insignia of the branch and its flag.
“The American flag will be there as well,” Krieg said, adding at this time the U.S. flag will be the only one that will be illuminated at night.
There will also be eight pillars that are projected to stand 6 feet tall. On those pillars will be names.
“We have one pillar set aside for POWs (prisoner of war), one for MIA (missing in action), one for KIA (killed in action) and one for purple heart recipients,” he said.
Park benches are also planned. The back of the benches can also have names engraved.
As the design was being created, discussions began as to where the park could be placed.
“The city mentioned there may be property by the ball field, and we looked at it and it worked great,” Krieg said.
Not only is the ball field a big community-orientated place to meet and play sports, but it is also along the main entrance into town and not far from downtown.
Krieg said the ground breaking ceremony will be a kickoff to the fundraising campaign to will make the dream of a memorial park into a reality. The Navy veteran who served in Vietnam explained there are many ways to donate, and all donations are tax deductible.
“People can send a check, make a donation online or donate to have a name engraved on one of the granite memorials,” Kreig said, noting the goal is to raise $100,000.
The granite engravings are priced at $150 per name, whereas the park benches, also granite, are $5,000. Checks can be dropped off at the Vergas City Hall, mailed to West Central Initiative, P.O. Box 318, Fergus Falls, Mn 56538 or at www.wcif.org/vvm. The final way to support the project will be by attending fundraising events.