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Throwing down a challenge
Bob Parrish appeals to residents to finish second vets memorial stone
new deh county commission vet memorial pic
Kenny Schremmer, then chairman of the Barton County Commission, speaks during the dedication of the first Golden Belt Veterans Memorial stone last Veterans Day. Bob Parrish is challenging county residents to help finish out the second stone by Veterans Day this year. - photo by Tribune file photo

In other business Monday morning, the Barton County Commission:

• Approved renewing the county’s membership in the National Association of Counties at a cost of $553. The main benefit is the NACo Prescription Card Program, County Administrator Richard Boeckman said. Since the county has been involved in the organization, residents have saved nearly $13,000 on prescription medications by using the cards.

NACo is the only national organization that represents county governments in the United States, Boeckman said. Founded in 1935, NACo provides essential services to the nation’s 3,068 counties, advancing issues with a unified voice before the federal government, improving the public’s understanding of county government, assisting counties in finding and sharing innovative solutions through education and research and providing value-added services to save counties and taxpayers money. There are also webinars and publications.

• Approved an application for Norbert Schneider of Hoisington to join the Cow Creek Watershed Working Group. The Kansas Department of Agriculture, Division of Water Resources, in cooperation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is engaging in a new RiskMAP project in the Cow Creek watershed that will involve Barton County. Barton County continues to seek applications for appointment to the group, Boeckman said.

 As of Monday morning, there were only 77 lines remaining to be sold to fill up the second stone at the  Golden Belt Veterans’ Memorial located in Golden Belt Memorial Park north of Great Bend.

“We need to close out this project,” World War II veteran and former Great Bend Mayor Bob Parrish told the County Commission Monday morning. “We are getting close to the end.”

In 2014, Parrish donated to the Golden Belt Veterans’ Memorial fund. Since that time, one stone has been completed and a second is nearly filled and he would like to see it in place by this Veterans Day in November.

He came before the commission to renew his challenge. He appealed to the county residents to kick in what was needed.

“We just need a little money here and a little money there,” he said.

The memorial honors veterans with Barton County ties who have served in all conflicts and in all branches of the military. Sadly, he said, there are a lot of vets left to be honored.

Each line costs $45. So, with 77 lines remaining, the total needed is about $3,500. 

From previous donations, there is $1,800 left to help needy veterans or to pay for entries for those who have died or have no family left in the area. That leaves about $1,700 that needs to be raised.

“We’ve had a good deal of activity in the past couple of weeks,” County Administrator Richard Boeckman said of those coming in to purchase lines. This has whittled the total down.

But, the issue isn’t veterans, he said. “We have many names.”

These come from lists in various county offices. The problem is paying to have these names engraved in the stone.

In fact, Boeckman said they have more names than they have spaces left on the second stone.

“Perhaps this could be an ongoing thing,” Parrish said. He suggested plaques to bear the listings.

However, Road and Bridge Director Dale Phillips said there are plans for two more stones. “It’s a growing project.”

With lists of thousands of veterans and with people still coming in on a regular basis to purchase entries, there is a good chance this will continue to develop, officials said.

As a side note, the commission passed a resolution honoring Parrish for his efforts with this memorial as well as continued support of the community. Parrish graduated from high school in 1945, the last class involved in the World War II draft.

Parrish enlisted and has since been active in civic roles as well as becoming a local historian.

Those wanting to purchase a spot on the memorial or make a donation 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.