- Associated Press - Saturday, August 9, 2014

MINDEN, Neb. (AP) - Jon Dorn wants to see a six-pillar memorial constructed on the west side of the Kearney County Courthouse as a recognition for all veterans.

Dorn, sergeant-at-arms for Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 5537 of Heartwell, is leading an effort among Kearney County veterans organizations to establish the memorial.

“We have a lot of memorials up for veterans that served during wartime,” he told the Hastings Tribune. “What we’re finding is there are veterans that served either during wartime but not in the conflict or in the gaps between, and there’s nothing around to acknowledge them as veterans.”

The proposed, 5-foot-wide, black granite pillars would list the names of every possible veteran from Kearney County and those with strong ties to the county. The plan is to dedicate the memorial on Veterans Day 2016.

So far, Dorn and other veterans organization representatives such as Matt Talbert, commander of American Legion Post No. 94 of Minden, have tracked down the names of 632 Kearney County veterans. There isn’t a comprehensive list of all veterans from the county. Individuals working on the project only found official lists of military members who served in war.

“But at the end of World War I into World War II there was a draft and we had people serving, but there’s nothing anywhere,” Dorn said.

The group considered erecting the memorial at the Minden Cemetery but selected the Kearney County Courthouse because it is a more visible location. Three of the memorial pillars would be on either side of the Fountain of Memories, which is dedicated to soldiers who served in World War I. The memorial will not be arranged alphabetically so as to allow for the addition of veterans in the future.

The narrow rectangular pillars will be stair-stepped and have pitched tops, giving the appearance of an arrow. The pair farthest from the fountain will slope up from 5 feet on the outside to 5½ feet on the inside. The tallest pillars slope up from 7 feet on the outside to 8 feet on the inside.

To make this plan a reality, organizers need to raise between $150,000 and$170,000. A significant part of the cost will cover the concrete footings. The footings need to be large, Dorn said, because the pillars are so heavy. The footings are expected to be 2 feet by 5 feet and at least 4 1/2 feet deep.

Donations can be made to the Veterans Memorial Project, P.O. Box 253, Minden, NE 68959 or at either bank in Minden.

The next step, Dorn said, is hiring an architect to come up with the final design. He didn’t know exactly how much that would cost but said a rough estimate would be $1,500-$2,000.

“I can’t do anything now without hiring an architect,” he said.

For more information, contact Dorn at 308-830-3310.

___

Information from: Hastings Tribune, https://www.hastingstribune.com

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