Friday, April 19, 2024
The proposed Blooming Prairie Veterans Memorial would recognize all men and women who have served, or will serve, in the United States Armed Forces.  Submitted photo. <!--break-->Sandy Jones of Blooming Prairie is responsible for this attractive display that has been used to promote the proposed Blooming Prairie Veterans Memorial. A fundraising campaign will be kicked off at the Servicemen’s Club on Veterans Day, Wednesday, Nov. 11.  Staff photo by Howard Lestrud. <!--break-->

Veterans Day fundraising kickoff date for Blooming Prairie Veterans Memorial

The special Veterans Day observance on Wednesday, Nov. 11, at the Blooming Prairie Servicemen’s Club will be marked by the kickoff of a fundraising campaign for a Blooming Prairie Veterans Memorial that will be constructed just east of the Servicemen’s Club.

Tom Peterson, chairman of the Blooming Prairie Veterans Memorial Committee, said the first phase of identifying the purpose of the memorial is complete, and the second phase of raising funds will begin on Veterans Day. 

The memorial project is spearheaded by the Sons of the American Legion Squadron #52 and the Blooming Prairie Veterans Memorial Committee. “We are very excited about our mission ahead,” Peterson said.

The idea of a Blooming Prairie veterans memorial has been promoted by many community members over the years, Peterson related.

Funds have already been coming in and more were received on Saturday, Oct. 17, at Sons of the American Legion Oyster and Chili Feed at the Servicemen’s Club. 

Peterson said there are two ways everyone can help advance the memorial project. One is to honor a veteran by purchasing a wall paver that will be engraved with a veteran’s name, branch of service and conflict/dates of service. The other way is by making a financial donation.

As a reminder, Phase I of this project was to determine “who” the memorial was designed for; “what” the memorial will be and “where” the memorial will be located.

Peterson explained the “who” part of Phase I by sharing the mission statement: 

“It is the purpose of the Blooming Prairie Veteran’s Memorial to honor all the men and women throughout our nation who have served, are serving and will serve in the armed forces of the United States of America. We are dedicated to encourage and foster patriotism and provide recognition to all veterans for their courage and willingness to give all for their country.”  The “what” part of the Phase I is found in a sketch of the Blooming Prairie Veterans Memorial. The sketch was done by Owatonna Granite and Monument.

The “where” of Phase I speaks to the location of property just to the east of the Servicemen’s Club building. “It is with gratitude that the Sons of the American Legion Squadron #52, the Blooming Prairie Veterans Memorial Committee and the Blooming Prairie Veterans Memorial Corporation thank the Blooming Prairie Servicemen’s Club Inc. for the gracious dedication of .23 acres to the Blooming Prairie Veterans Memorial,” Peterson said.

With Phase I completed, Peterson said it is imperative that money be raised to make the memorial a reality. “We ask everyone to generously support the fundraising for the memorial,” he added.

Committee members will be on hand at the Servicemen’s Club Veterans Day to answer any questions and to review how to purchase a wall paver for a veteran or to make a contribution. A special display created by Sandy Jones will be featured at the Servicemen’s Club on Veterans Day.

Committee members include: American Legion, Tom Walters; American Legion Auxiliary, Sandy Jones; Sons of the American Legion, Fred Vokoun; Veterans of Foreign Wars, Ken Vermilyea; VFW Auxiliary, Marilyn Meshke; Blooming Prairie Servicemen’s Club, Doug Miner and chairman Tom Peterson.

The fund raising goal is $250,000, Peterson said. If interested in a wall paver, contact Tom Peterson, 6731 158th St. SE, Blooming Prairie, MN 55917. Call him at 507-456-2017. Wall paver forms are available at the Servicemen’s Club. Correspondence can also be addressed to Blooming Prairie Veterans Memorial, P.O. Box 432, Blooming Prairie, MN 55917.

The wall pavers will measure 3.5 inches tall by 11 inches wide. A named person must be a veteran, living or deceased, of any branch of the U.S. military, serving during peacetime or wartime in any conflict. Cost is $350 for each paver.

The memorial will include the following design:

• Granite archway to the memorial.

• Solid granite pedestal with adorning bald eagle. Language on the pedestal recognizes the POW/MIA veteran.

• Single flagpole adorned with the United States flag and POW/MIA flag.

• At the base of the flagpole are five solid granite tablets recognizing five branches of service.

• Surrounding the flags and granite tablets are three walls with wall pavers to recognize the veterans.

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