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Sacrifices worth remembering
Nov. 11, 2013
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New veterans memorial in Carver County will feature an online registry

By Starrla Cray
Staff Writer

CARVER COUNTY, MN – A place to show respect to those who’ve served this country. A place to reflect. A place to remember.

With granite monuments, engraved pavers, military flags, and more, the Carver County Veterans Memorial and Registry promises to be this place.

The chosen site is the head of the Dakota Rail Regional Trail in Mayer, where citizens from all over Carver County can stop to enjoy it.

People who have served in the military – during war or peacetime – will have a chance  to be personally honored with engraved paver stones.

“There are a lot of service men and women who’ve been trained and have put in their time, but were never called to serve in a war area. They should also be included and honored,” said Stan Heldt, who is chair of the volunteer memorial committee.

Each person featured in the memorial will have the opportunity to be in an online registry, with a photo and story about their service.

“We feel that this story is a big part of the monument,” Heldt said. “The stories can be anything they’d like to share.”

Heldt’s son, Charlie, for example, served in the Army National Guard from 1997 to 2009, achieving the rank of Sgt. First Class E-7. He spent 22 months on a deployment to Iraq, where he ran construction projects employing Iraqi contractors and US military construction workers. Charlie also did combat patrols and route-clearing operations, looking for explosives, reacting to enemy attacks, and caring for injured personnel.

Another person to be included in the memorial is Duane Schumacher of Watertown, who served in the Army infantry in World War II.

“He was a neat guy – very active in the Legion,” Heldt said.

Schumacher’s story states that while on a ship in Tokyo Bay, he watched the signing of the peace treaty on the Battleship Missouri.

“Those are the stories – and there are hundreds of them out there – that need to be remembered,” Heldt said.

A QR code will likely be at the memorial, so visitors can conveniently access the online registry with their mobile devices.

“They will be able to search by name, and it will indicate where their paver is in the memorial,” Heldt said.

The idea for the Carver County Veterans Memorial and Registry began about three years ago. The committee has secured approval from county commissioners and other officials, and is in the process of incorporating the organization.

“Incorporating will give us the vehicle to continue building and maintaining the memorial as new people are added,” Heldt said.

“It is a living monument,” committee member Myron Taylor added.

Granite tablets at a minimum of 10 feet high by 40 feet wide will be one highlight of the memorial. Flags from each branch of the military, meditation benches, and a glass display case are also planned.

Lights will be strategically placed throughout the site, giving nighttime visitors a unique experience.

“Everything is going to be fine-tuned – we’re trying to move slowly,” Heldt said, adding that the committee hasn’t set a completion date.

Currently, the cost of the memorial is estimated at $217,000, which includes statues, benches, flagpoles, cement, electrical, excavation, registry, marketing, and legal fees.

The majority of funding is expected to come from the sale of engraved pavers. (The price for each paver will be finalized in the near future.)

Other potential funding sources are grants, gifts/memorials, and donations.

Reserve a spot
To learn more about the Carver County Veterans Memorial and Registry, or to reserve a paver, call:

• Stan Heldt: (952) 657-2169

• Lowell Wasser: (952) 657-2107

• Norville Luebke: (952) 657-1415

• Myron Taylor Sr.: (952) 657-2462

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