Sadly, there are many deserving veterans with ties to Barton County who had not been included on the new Golden Belt Veterans Memorial, such as a veteran of the Civil war and the man who survived the infamous Bataan Death March during World War II.
However, thanks in part to a $1,000 donation given the county in 2014 by the Great Bend Tribune, many of these heros are being added to the list. The funds are used to assist veterans who do not have the financial resources to pay for an engraving, veterans with no family in the area or veterans serving long ago who are deserving of recognition.
To date, 20 soldiers have been recognized. This leaves $100 of the Tribune’s donation remaining, County Administrator Richard Boeckman said in an update to the Barton County Commission Monday morning.
“There are a good variety of people who would not be on the stone without the generous support of the Tribune,” Boeckman said.
Tribune Publisher Mary Hoisington said the paper was glad to make the contribution. “I think it is important to recognize these veterans.”
But, “there are many, many names,” Boeckman said. So, he and the commissioners issued a plea for contributions to help continue this effort.
The memorial project, which has been in the works for many years, is a noble cause, Commissioner Kenny Schremmer said. This campaign will help remember those who might otherwise be forgotten.
The first stone was dedicated on Veterans Day last November. They hope to dedicated the second stone some time this year.
The two stones that will flank a center obelisk, which has already been installed. In addition to the stones, there are flags representing the branches of service, including Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines, Navy and Merchant Marines.
There are the names of 377 vets with ties to Barton County etched into the tablet, Boeckman said. The names represent all branches of the military.
At $45 per line, 540 had to be sold before the first stone could be ordered. Some entries take more than one line.
Now, the county is trying to sell the remaining space on the second stone.
Qualifications to be included are proof that the veteran was at least at one time a Barton County residency and an honorable discharge from the military. The veteran can be living or deceased, and active-duty service members are also eligible.
The memorial is located in Golden Belt Memorial Park, located north of Great Bend at 59 NW 50 Road.
Those wanting to purchase a spot on the memorial can bring their payments to the Barton County Administrator’s Office in room 107 of the courthouse at 1400 Main in Great Bend. For more information, call 620-793-1800.
Checks must be made payable to Barton County.