By Starrla Cray
CARVER COUNTY, MN Every veteran has a story, whether they served overseas or in the states, during times of war or times of peace.
The Carver County Veterans Memorial committee aims to document and preserve these stories through an online registry at www.ccvmr.org.
Veterans who are part of the registry will also be remembered in the physical memorial, which will be constructed at the head of the Dakota Rail Regional Trail in Mayer.
“There will be six granite stones, three on each side,” volunteer committee member Charlie Heldt said. “It will be lit up, and there will be an American flag, and one flag for each branch of the military.”
Along with the six stone tablets, other planned features include meditation benches, a glass display case, and attractive landscaping.
In the center, there will be a spot to honor soldiers who were killed in action.
Each veteran will have a 70-pound, 16-inch-long paver stone in the memorial. Pavers will be engraved with the veteran’s name, branch of service, and era in which they served.
“We’re hoping to start construction next spring,” committee chair Stan Heldt said.
Stories online now
There’s no need to wait until next spring to be part of the memorial, however. The online registry is already up and running, and anyone who served in the US military and was honorably discharged can purchase a paver and submit a story. (Purchases are fully tax deductible.)
“Veterans don’t need a connection to Carver County,” Stan said. “It’s a way for anyone to have their story told and remembered.”
One veteran already listed in the registry is memorial committee member Norville Luebke, an Army sergeant during the Korean War. (To see his story, type “Norville” into the search box on the registry website.)
Committee member Myron Taylor Sr. is also featured in the registry (type “Myron” into the search). Taylor enlisted in the Army immediately after high school, and signed up for Armored Europe. After his training, Taylor boarded the USS Randall for a two-year tour of duty. He spent nine days at sea enduring a severe storm while sailing through the English Channel before arriving in Bremerhaven, Germany.
At the end of his story, Taylor notes, “It was a great honor and pride for me to be able to serve my country, meet many great people and see the world. I encourage any young adult who is interested and is able to check with your local recruiter for enlistment opportunities; it will make you proud and feel honored to serve.”
Those who served more recently are also encouraged to contribute. Charlie Heldt’s registry page, for example, states that he was in the Army National Guard from 1997 to 2009. He spent 22 months in Iraq, where he ran large construction projects, did combat patrols, and performed route clearance operations.
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) 657-2462
• Myron Taylor Sr.: (952) 657-1415