While it will still be some time before community members see work being done on the construction of the new Starke County Veterans Memorial, a bit of work was underway this week to prepare the area in front of the Courthouse in Knox.
Three trees were removed from the courthouse lawn on Tuesday, January 14th.
The work was conducted by several members of the Starke County Highway Department as well as “Tree Doctor” Joe Scott from North Judson who assisted with stump removal, free of charge.
One of the trees was a diseased tulip tree that was apparently about 75 to 100 years old, according to Starke County Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler. Knox City Councilman Jeff V. Berg, who also sits on the committee for this memorial, shared that tidbit on social media, along with several pictures of the operations.
In addition to sharing those details and coordinating with fellow committee members and outside sources about this project, Berg has been tasked with collecting all the names and relevant information about Starke County veterans who passed away during various conflicts that will be recognized with this memorial.
He plans to include the names of individuals lost during recent wars and will be acknowledging everyone who paid the ultimate sacrifice in previous years, going all the way back to when Starke County was officially established around 1850.
He came before Commissioners last Monday with an update and provided a quote to highlight the importance of this project.
He remarked, “ ‘Time will not dim the glory of their deeds.’ Those words from General John J. Pershing after the Great War still resonate today.”
Berg also informed Commissioners and meeting attendees that the committee has been coordinating with Brian Whittaker, president of Wearly Monuments out of Muncie.
He said that after considering a few different options, the committee has voted to go with jet black granite. The material has already been ordered but will take about six months to arrive.
He added that Whittaker presented the committee with three different potential designs and members are choosing aspects they appreciate from all three to incorporate into a new design.
Commissioner Kathy Norem, who is also on the memorial committee, shared that while they will be on a tight schedule to complete this project within their specified time frame, the plan is to have it in place before the end of the year.
She explained, “Our goal is to have that dedicated, up, ready to go, by Veterans Day 2020.”
Currently, the committee is working on establishing an online presence to allow people to keep up with the process and make donations at any time. However, for the time being, contributions can be provided to the group’s financial representative Carla Musialat DeMotte State Bank.
Norem noted that the bank is donating their services free of charge so there will be no fees associated with the process. She also explained that donors who provide funds for the project will be eligible for a tax deduction thanks to the Merit Foundation serving as a pass through for the contributions.
Berg mentioned that more updates will be shared with the County Commissioners and Council members during future meetings.