Memorial project has begun

Chuck Mixson, center, presents a commemorative shovel to Doug and Diana Kahler, right, for donating land for the Martin County Veterans Memorial while Kathy Smith, left, and Steve Langford look on. Smith also accepted a shovel on behalf of her fellow Martin County commissioners.

FAIRMONT — Military veterans, family and friends gathered at 507 Winnebago Avenue on Saturday to celebrate the groundbreaking for the Martin County Veterans Memorial.

Ceremonial shovels were presented to Doug and Diana Kahler who donated the land and to Kathy Smith, representing the Martin County Commissioners who have agreed to maintain the site located directly east of the Winnebago Avenue ball diamonds.

“We have an ongoing obligation to those who served,” Smith told the crowd.

Representative Bob Gunther said that several other counties in the state have created or were in the process of developing veterans memorials.

“I’m very proud of what you’re doing here,” he said.

Terry Anderson, who serves on the memorial’s planning committee with fellow veterans Chuck Mixson and Bob Meschke, said he and others have actively been planning the site for a year, and he expressed gratitude to the many entities who have assisted including the Martin County commissioners, the city of Fairmont, Martin County Area Foundation and Jim Miller of Fairmont who helped organize the memorial committee.

“We must give special thanks to Diana and Doug Kahler for their generous, thoughtful and much needed gift of this land,” he said.

The site will serve as a place to remember and respect our past, he said, but also provide an opportunity for friends and families to honor not only those who died in service to our country but those who served with a willing heart.

Mixson spent time before and after the ceremony explaining the design and concept of the future memorial and how families can have a loved one’s name put on the memorial. He said he has been humbled by the generosity of so many businesses and individuals who already have donated to the effort.

“It could be a very expensive program if we didn’t have all these good people stepping up to the plate,” he said, noting that constructing the memorial, especially the planned statues, will be a long endeavor at an estimated cost of $500,000.

Steve Langford served as emcee for the program, and Gary Reutzel offered opening and closing prayers.

For more information about the memorial, contact Mixson at (507) 236-1072 or Miller at (507) 236-1026 or by emailing mcvmproject@gmail.com.

Donations are tax-deductible and can be made payable to Region Nine Area Inc. with a memo designating “Martin County Veterans Memorial” and mailed to MCVM, P.O. Box 623, Fairmont, MN 56031.


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