While efforts continue to fill the fourth stone at the Golden Belt Veterans Memorial, there have been other improvements to the monument located at the Golden Belt Memorial Park north of Great Bend, County Works Director Darren Williams told the County Commission Monday morning.
“This is really a good deal for the county,” he said, presenting an update on the ongoing project.
Williams said the first 200 lines on side one of stone four were purchased by the Hoisington Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7428 when it closed. Side two is for general use.
As of this week, there are still 40 lines available on the first side (for general use, but preferably for vets from the Hoisington area) and 141 on the second, he said. At $45 per line, 520 (about 370 veterans), 260 per side, have to be sold before each of the stones can be ordered.
Although county officials would like to see the stone set and dedicated on Veterans Day this year, Williams said he doubted that would happen.
As the effort goes along, it has become more of a challenge to bring veterans or their families in to purchase space on the stones. The purchase can even be a gift to a loved one and the county has money available to help cover the expense, he said.
“I’ve heard a lot of good comments about it,” said Commissioner Kenny Schremmer, one of the commissioners who helped spearhead the project at the outset. “It’s been a long process. It is a great change out there.”
A new addition
Two weeks ago, the Road and Bridge Department installed a directory of veterans included on the memorial, Williams said. The free-standing structure is set in concrete and features glass-encased displays with the alphabetical listings.
“This just makes it easier,” he said.
There were a lot of folks involved in making this happen. It was the brainchild of the Barton County Memorial Parks Advisory Committee. Register of Deeds Pam Wornkey provided the list of names.
The second stone was dedicated on Veterans Day in 2016 and the first stone on Veterans Day the year before. But, the project dates back to 2012 when the idea of a memorial was first raised.
The first two stones flank a center obelisk. In addition to the stones, there are flags representing the branches of service, including Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines, Navy and Merchant Marines.
The third stone is staggered behind stone one. It was installed last October and dedicated on Veterans Day.
Number four will be behind number two. Local sculptor Chet Cale facilitates the purchase of the stones, which are engraved by Kansas Granite in Ellis. Williams and other county personnel prepare the location.
It honors veterans with Barton County ties who have served in all conflicts and in all branches of the military who have a connection with Barton County. 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.
Those wanting to purchase a spot on the memorial or make a donation can bring their payments to the Barton County administration 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.
The monument is located at the Golden Belt Memorial Park, 59 NW 50 Road, north of Great Bend.