The goal of honoring local veterans is becoming a reality. As Memorial Day creeps closer on the calendar, the Northeast Montana Veterans Memorial Park in Fort Peck is nearing its financial goals.
Steven Page, part of the Northeastern Montana Veteran Memorial organization, explained that the group is nearing the $400,000 mark. They started with a goal of $300,000 to be raised before the Memorial Day groundbreaking, but he said they’ve been progressively raising the bar. The group starting raising funds in November, only five months ago.
“The fundraising has exceeded our expectations, but we’re still working on our final goal,” Page said.
The final cost of the project is expected to add up to between $750,000 and $1 million. The project will honor the nine counties in the east of Montana. Page explained that the Fort Peck location was chosen due to the central location and because it’s already a destination stop for many who come to recreate in the area. There is also a military history associated with the town.
DBA Architects has worked on the project design. The company out of Minneapolis has designed several churches, but they also have worked on other memorials. Page said that the homegrown business fit the ideas they had in mind for the project.
The group of veterans and supporters have pounded pavement and sought regional support on their idea for a local veterans memorial. Page explained in an earlier article that 9,000 men and women have served in uniform and more than 300 gave their lives. This memorial will not only show support but help honor those who have served.
“We’ve had support from local business, individuals: it’s all been local and a regional,” Page said.
As a number of community members, businesses and organizations have lent their support for the project, the project committee has been lining up events for the Memorial Day event. Page explained that several different activities will be taking place over the weekend and they hope to draw a decent crowd to celebrate and honor past and current veterans.
Wounded Warriors Project are organizing a weekend of outdoor fishing, shooting and other activities for veterans. Meanwhile several other possibilities that could involve the youth and local community are being worked out.
Veteran and formal Navy SEAL Robert O’Neill will be the keynote speaker at the celebration. O’Neill is highly decorated and has been deployed more than a dozen times. He’s also been on more than 400 combat missions. He has over 52 honors, including two Silver Stars, four Bronze Stars with Valor and a Joint Service Commendation Medal with Valor. He also has three Presidential Unit Citations.
A complementary lunch will be served after the event kicks off at 11 a.m. Memorial Day in front of the Fort Peck Theater. More information on the upcoming event will follow in The Glasgow Courier.