Despite high winds and chilly temperatures, a large crowd of veterans, family members and other spectators turned out for the dedication of the Golden Belt Veterans Memorial Stone at Golden Belt Memorial Park on Wednesday.
The ceremony started with the Great Bend High School Band playing the National Anthem, which was directed by the Band Director Mark DeWald.
After the National Anthem the opening remarks was presented by County Commission Chairman Kenny Schremmer.
“A veteran is an individual that wrote a blank check to his country, to give his life if needed,” Schremmer said. He went on to thank the veterans of the community and for their sacrifices they have made for their country.
After Schremmer’s remarks, the Golden Plains Quilts of Valor presented WW II veteran Warren Shirer of Great Bend with a quilt for his service to his country.
After the QOV presentation, LTC. Noel Grubb addressed those huddled against the cold.
“This monument is a great way to show the legacy of veterans in Barton County,” Grubb said. “There are so many untold stories about the veterans that have not come back.”
Grubb went on to tell a few of these stories about veterans from Barton County. He mentioned the sacrifices they made to their country and talked about how important this monument is to the people of Great Bend and the surrounding communities.
Grubb is an Ellinwood native. He graduated from Emporia State University with a degree in secondary education. Grubb saw active combat four times, once in Bosnia, twice in Irag and once in Afghanistan. After 22 years of service he retired and moved to Pennsylvania with his wife and three children.
There was approximately 150 people in attendance at the ceremony.
The Veterans Memorial at the Golden Belt Memorial Park was developed in a joint effort of the Barton County Commissioners, the Barton County Memorial Parks Advisory Board and the public, County Administrator Richard Boeckman said.
The idea of the Memorial was brought to the Advisory Board several years ago by dedicated elected officials, advisory board members, Barton County employees and the public. “They have worked tirelessly to bring the project to fruition,” he said.
Beginning with donations received in 20l2, Barton County has received almost $37,000 to bring this project to life. The monument, carved with military insignias representing the branches of the armed services, along with the flag poles, was dedicated on Sunday, May 25, 2014.
Barton County accepted applications for the names to be engraved on the first commemorative stone.
This first stone contains the names of some 377 veterans from the Civil War through today. They represent all six branches of the military - Air Force, Army, Coast Guard Marines, Merchant Marines, Navy and the Reserves. Men and women, husbands and wives, grandfathers an grandmothers, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters. “These names tell the story of Barton County’s unending support of the United States of America,” Boeckman said.
Barton County continues to accepting names for the Golden Belt Veterans Memorial project’s next stone. Any veteran, living or deceased who is or was a resident of Barton County, may have their name placed on these marble markers. Engravings can be purchased for as $45, offsetting the cost of the stone. For more information, contact the Barton County Administrator’s Office at 620-793-18OO.