Fundraising begins for veterans memorial in Pierz

Goal is to raise close to $20,000 for black granite memorial at Billig Park

By Terry Lehrke, News Editor

Members of the Rich Prairie American Legion Post #341 in Pierz have decided to erect a veterans memorial at Billig Park in Pierz, to “honor those who served our country.” The black granite monument is expected to cost nearly $20,000. Farmers and Merchants (F&M) State Bank in Pierz made the first donation to the cause in the amount of $1,000. The Legionnaires hope the entire community will join them in making the project a reality. Pictured are (from left): Eric Boser, loan officer and Lori Gangl, loan assistant, with F&M Bank and Legionnaires Jim Gerwing, Larry Schmidtbauer, Rod Boser, Fred Gruber and Tom Theis.

Members of the Rich Prairie American Legion Post #341 in Pierz have decided to erect a veterans memorial at Billig Park in Pierz, to “honor those who served our country.” The black granite monument is expected to cost nearly $20,000. Farmers and Merchants (F&M) State Bank in Pierz made the first donation to the cause in the amount of $1,000. The Legionnaires hope the entire community will join them in making the project a reality. Pictured are (from left): Eric Boser, loan officer and Lori Gangl, loan assistant, with F&M Bank and Legionnaires Jim Gerwing, Larry Schmidtbauer, Rod Boser, Fred Gruber and Tom Theis.

Soon, Pierz will join other cities in showcasing a veterans memorial to honor those who have served the United States in the Armed Forces.

The Rich Prairie American Legion Post #341 received the city’s permission to put the memorial in Billig Park — between the Fire Hall and the gazebo. Legionnaire Fred Gruber said it would balance out the area — with the Father Pierz statue donated by the St. Cloud Hospital on the other side of the gazebo.

The monument envisioned will be of black granite with a base 8 feet wide, a center piece 5 feet high with 2 1/2 foot high wings on either side.

Along with an eagle and the American Flag, the monument will declare, “Dedicated to the men and women who served our country.” The emblems of each of the five branches of the service will be etched into the granite.

“We want it to be a community thing,” said Gruber. “We really feel we are honoring our veterans, but we also want to show appreciation to the families (and friends) who kept the community going.”

Without that, Gruber said, the community may very well have disappeared while veterans were off fighting. Families and communities sacrificed along with the veterans.

Pierz-vet-memorialTom Theis, another Legion member, said they wanted people in the community to feel like they were part of making the project a reality.

Estimates are the project will cost nearly $20,000. The Legionnaires would like to see it come together early next year.

Farmers and Merchants State Bank made the first effort to support the cause with a $1,000 donation to the project.

An account has been set up at the bank to make it easier for others to join in and donate as well. The fund is called the “Rich Prairie Post #341 Veterans Memorial Fund.” Donations can be brought into the bank, or mailed to: F & M Bank, PO Box 308, Pierz, MN 56364.

Details are still being worked out for a meal fundraiser for the project at the Pierz Ballroom the first Saturday in September.

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