- Associated Press - Sunday, May 3, 2020

KEARNEY, Neb. (AP) - A memorial honoring area veterans is moving toward completion at the Central Nebraska Veterans’ Home at Kearney.

“It’s been a long haul. It took longer than we estimated, but I think the end product is going to be worth the wait,” said Bob Harpst, chair of the Central Nebraska Veterans’ Memorial Committee.

All of the concrete service pillars, which are 16-feet-tall, and the 8-feet conflict pillars are up and the granite has been installed, according to the Kearney Hub. Plaques that describe each conflict should be completed this week and sent to the printers. Flagpoles have been ordered and the final dirt work will be done soon, making room for the remainder of the flat concrete work.

The memorial occupies more than one-third of an acre on the southeast corner of the vets home campus at 4510 E. 56th St.

“When you stand next to one of those big pillars you just go, ‘Wow.’ It’s big. Really big,” said Harpst. “The amount of concrete in the footings alone is amazing.”

Harpst is hopeful the project will be completed by fall. The memorial was designed by Kearney native Phil Cudaback, a San Diego architect.

In June 2019, ground was broke for the $2 million project. About $1.5 million of the fund will cover costs to erect the 173-foot by 103-foot memorial. The remaining $500,000 will be set aside in an endowment managed by the committee, which will be utilized for memorial repairs and upkeep.

The fundraising campaign started in September 2016.

The committee is within $50,000 of their goal, Harpst said. Fundraising efforts were suspended last year during the March and July floods, and again are suspended due to the pandemic.

However, donations are being accepted.

To donate to the memorial, contact the Kearney Area Community Foundation at 308-237-3114, Central Nebraska Veterans’ Memorial website at cnvm.org, or their Facebook page.

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