It may seem like only yesterday that names were added to the Westby Area Veterans Memorial, but in fact it has been seven long years. Way too many years, according to those veterans who take care of the Memorial – and others whose names are not on the Memorial.
The main man you see taking such wonderful care of the Memorial, located on Black River Street just south of Norseland, is Harlan Springborn, a Vietnam veteran. Springborn gives hundreds of hours of his time year-round landscaping, mowing, raking and weeding the lawn and gardens, and caring for the flags that fly behind and next to the Memorial. Standing alongside him is a six-person committee that admits to not having been nearly as busy as Harlan in getting the names of newer veterans with local connections.
“We’ve talked about adding names for several years, but for various reasons – health of others – we haven’t made the concerted effort it takes to get the job done,” said several committee members.
That is about to change. With the addition of some fresh committee members, a drive is being initiated to track down the young men and women who have been fighting our nation’s longest war, or serving in other locations but who stand ready to go if called upon. There may also be other names of older veterans who somehow missed being added since the Memorial was first dedicated in 2000.
You don’t have to be a native of the Westby area, or a combat veteran, to be honored with your name being engraved on the black granite Memorial. If you have a local connection, or live here, we want to honor your service by having your name added and being recognized by future generations living in the Westby area.
The campaign to collect new names will officially begin at the Westby Area High School choir concert on Tuesday, March 13, and will be promoted again on at the band concert on Monday, March 19. Both concerts will be held at the new Westby Area Performing Arts Center, and there will be an information/registration table in the commons outside the entrances to facility.
There will be a nominal charge of $25 to cover the cost of engraving each name. The committee has a list of Westby Area High School graduates since 2007 who have served and will attempt to reach them or their parents to make sure they are recognized for their service.
Any of these Westby alumni individuals or parents are asked to contact Tom Sharratt at 634-2118 to complete a registration form over the phone to simplify this process. Other members of the Veterans Memorial Committee who can also be contacted regarding the inclusion of new names to the memorial include: Gary Daines, Cindy Jefson, Harold Olson, Dan Shaha and Karen Solverson.
The exact date of a re-dedication ceremony has not been determined, but will likely will be held on Veterans Day, Sunday Nov. 11.