A large crowd attended the dedication ceremony for the new Carver County Veterans Memorial and Registry Sept. 7. It is located in Mayer, on the southwest corner of Ash Ave. (State Hwy 25), and 1st Street (County Rd 30), and is open to the public.
The featured speaker was Larry Herke, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs. Carver County Commissioner Tim Lynch was the master of ceremonies, introducing Mayer Council Member Elizabeth Butterfield, Pastor LeRoy LaPlant of St. Mark Lutheran Church in New Germany, Carver County Veterans Memorial and Registry committee chair Stan Heldt, State Senator Dr. Scott Jensen, State Representative Jim Nash, and US Congressman Tom Emmer, who lives in Delano.
“This memorial has been a few years in the making . . . Congratulations to all of you who put this together,” Butterfield said. “We dedicate this memorial to those who have gone before us, who are currently serving, and those who will be coming after us.”
Carver County Veteran Services Officer Dan Tengwall, along with Carver County Veterans Memorial and Registry Secretary Myron Taylor, encouraged soldiers and military families in attendance to come forward, presenting them with Blue Star flags to take home.
Heldt explained some of the memorial’s features. He highlighted a large row of paver stones, set in concrete, with veterans’ names imprinted on them. Heldt welcomed attendees to inquire for more information, if they have a family member who has served in the military, to add their name to the memorial pavers, and online registry.
The centerpiece of the memorial is a glass display case, built into the main wall. It currently holds the uniform and helmet of Army Private Eugene Early, who was born in Wright County in 1894, and killed in action during World War I.
Heldt stated how the display case will be reserved for service members killed in action (KIA), missing in action (MIA), or prisoners of war (POW). Each person’s uniform and biographies will be displayed for 30 to 60 days.
The memorial is designed with large display panels, etched with images to honor the various military branches.
Heldt explained that a bronze sculpture of a kneeling soldier will soon be installed, directly in front of the memorial, and a second group of paver stones will be installed to honor the financial donors behind the memorial’s construction.
Live program music was performed by the Polka Sons of Praise, and taps was played by Randy Stender and Vern Elke.
A paver stone garden at the memorial contains the names of veterans from all over the county. Each paver has been purchased by a military family member, and is engraved with a veteran’s name, branch of service, and era in which they served.