The Memorial Parks Advisory Committee is on a mission.
The objective is to build a veterans memorial at Golden Belt Memorial Park north of Great Bend. However, thus far, the committee has only raised $2,200 of the needed $55,000 for the project.
So, a fundraiser in the form of a barbecue dinner is planned for 5-7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 15, at the Great Bend American Legion post home, 1011 Kansas. “The public is invited,” said veteran and committee Chairman Larry Buczinski.
They are requesting an $8 donation per person. The menu includes pulled-pork sandwiches (meat prepared by committee Vice-chair Paige Lofland), baked beans, coleslaw, and tea or water.
“We’d like to get some more ticket sales going,” Buczinski said. Posters have been plastered all over town promoting the event.
Tickets are available from committee members or at the Legion hall after 2 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. For more information, call Buczinski at 620-566-7100 or the Legion at 620-793-5912.
On May 13, the Barton County Commission gave the committee the go-ahead to hold the dinner. It also gave the nod for another event, a “patriotic musical event,” at the Crest Theater some time in late August or early September.
The memorial will feature representations of each branch of the military, including Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines, Navy and Merchant Marines (who received veterans status for the years 1942-46). A gray granite marker will contain emblems for each along with the inscription “A nation that forgets its defenders will itself be forgotten. This is but a small tribute to all the veterans whose names are forever etched on these tablets. We are eternally grateful for their service to this nation. All gave some, some gave all.”
The committee will accept the contribution of veterans’ names. These will be carved into tablets that flank the center stone. There will also be flags representing the branches of service.
In February 2012, the Barton County Commission approved plans for the fund drive. The memorial will be open to all veterans with Barton County ties, living or deceased.
The Road and Bridge Department has spent the last nine years tending to the two memorial parks north of Great Bend the county inherited when the private ownership left. At this time, the plans for a veterans’ section at Golden Belt were born.
Great Bend sculptor and artist Chet Cale will design and build the work.