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Vets memorial campaign advancing slowly
vets memorial park pic
Shown is an artists rendition the planned veterans memorial at Golden Belt Memorial Park north of Great Bend. Fundraising efforts for the work are underway. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

For more information about the Golden Belt Memorial Park Veterans Memorial, or to make a donation, contact the County Administrator’s Office at 620-793-1800.

In February, the Barton County Commission approved plans for a fundraising effort by the Memorial Parks Advisory Committee to begin collecting money for a new veterans memorial at the  Golden Belt Memorial Park north of Great Bend.
The goal was to raise $55,000. Now, four months into the campaign, “we are still in the beginning stages,” said Mick Lang, committee chairman.
As Memorial Day came and wend, Lang said donations have trickled in very slowly. “Any and all donations are appreciated.”
The committee developed a brochure that explains the plans for the memorial and opportunities for people to give to help fund it. These have been and are continuing to be distributed to the public at events and through county businesses, including area banks.
He added that the plan is for anything that is raised over the actual cost of the memorial will be set aside for maintenance and for any future improvements or additional development of the memorial.
“The county established a special fund to receive funds for the veterans memorial,” said Barton County Administrator Richard Boeckman. That money will be used only for the memorial.
The plan is for the memorial to feature representations of each branch of military in the nation, including Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines, Navy and Merchant Marines (who receive 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 contributed names of vets will be carved into tablets that flank the center stone. There will also be flags representing the branches of service.
“This is open to all veterans with Barton County ties, living or deceased,” said committee member Paige Lofland. It will include the name, rank and branch of service for each.
The committee hopes to have the memorial completed by Memorial Day 2013.
The Road and Bridge Department has spent the last eight years fixing up the two memorial parks north of Great Bend the county inherited when the private ownership left, and the plans for Golden Belt included the development of a veterans section.
The county sought design bids from two architecture firms; however, they proved too expensive and the committee took over the design effort. They then sought proposals for the work and advocated the approval of a proposal from Chet Cale, Great Bend, who was selected for the work.
Boeckman said he’s been involved in the project from its inception and the formation of the advisory committee. “That is a good committee. They work very hard.”
Road and Bridge will maintain the tribute.
For more information or to make a donation, contact the County Administrator’s Office at 620-793-1800.