Plans have been unveiled for a new Chilton Veterans Memorial which, when completed, will stand as an outstanding effort to pay tribute to the sacrifices made by men and women who served their country in the military.
Because the memorial site will be on Chilton City property—Klinkner Park—City Council approval was required before the project could proceed. That came at the council’s May 7 meeting.
The Memorial’s design will be distinctly different from many of the other very fine tributes to veterans because its highlight will be life-sized statues representing the six branches of military. They are Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard and Merchant Marines.
As can be seen from the architect’s concept sketch, there will be three statues of servicemen positioned in a slight semi-circle flanking a centerpiece eagle perched on a natural stone spire. A walking path will take visitors on either side of the eagle and statues.
The six-foot tall statues will be positioned in the center of a circular berm faced off with a four-foot high natural stone retaining wall. A short path will take memorial visitors from the statues to the display of flags. Situated on a curved, elevated base will be three flags . . . United States, State of Wisconsin and MIA (Missing In Action). Plans also call for the names of the area’s servicemen killed in action in all of the nation’s armed conflicts to be affixed to the base of the flag base.
The memorial will be situated in Klinkner Park a short distance east of the small veterans memorial now in the park that was put up by the Calumet VFW Post.
This location gives it great visibility for passing motorists as well as easy access for pedestrian traffic. Memorial Drive runs east of it, U.S. 151 is on its south side and it will be clearly visible to motorists on State 57, especially those northbound on the State 57.
A meandering path will link the memorial to the Klinkner Park parking area adjacent to the shelter building for those who wish to park and walk to it. This path will be especially attractive to those who have a close connection to one of the veterans honored at the site in that they can stroll to it.
The outstanding design is the work of former Chilton resident Jim Suttner, who owns an award-winning architectural firm in Baltimore. Suttner, who has very generously donated his time and talents to the project, feels strongly about the total project. “I’m honored to have been asked to work on this memorial that pays tribute to those who gave so much to their country. It also gives me a chance to give something back to my home town, the place where I grew up.’’
“When completed this will be a wonderful place for all of us to visit, ponder and reflect back on the great sacrifices of all of those courageous men and women who gave so much to the service of out country,” Jim said.
While the site will be officially named, “Veterans’ Memorial of Chilton,” there will be opportunities for any veteran, living or deceased, to be displayed. The only requirement is an Honorable Discharge from service. It’s a natural that vets who live near Chilton will want to be part of the project but it is not limited to those from this area. For example, someone who moved here might want to honor a parent or relative.
That recognition will come in the form of an etched plate in either one of two sizes, 4” by 8” inches or 8” by 8.” Complete information on this aspect is detailed elsewhere.
The etched individual nameplates will placed at an easy to read angle along both sides of the walkway leading to the cluster of military statues.
The entire memorial area, not only the flag area where lighting is required, will be lighted during hours of darkness. In addition to the lighting there will be cameras constantly filming the site. This will enable viewing from anywhere as well as surveillance to discourage vandalism.
Master Plan Landscapes, LLC, a Chilton firm owned by Bob and Stacy Woelfel, will serve as general contractors and coordinate the actual construction work.
This is a pretty serious financial undertaking and will require a broad base of community support to complete.
So where will the money come from?
Some of the funding will come from the individual nameplates described above. How much, depends on response.
The project has received 501 © 3 status which means it is a qualified non-profit and any donation made to it can be used as a tax deduction for those who itemize deductions when filing taxes.
An aggressive fund drive will be launched looking for major donors in the areas of business and industry. This is why it was so important to gain 501 © 3 status because of the comfort-level it carries to potential business and industry donors.
Major donors will be recognized in some form near the beginning of the path leading to the memorial from the park parking lot.
The campaign to raise the required funds begins immediately. Actual construction work will not begin until the needed funds are in hand. It is hoped that a successful drive will make it possible to begin work when conditions are suitable in 2014.
It must be stressed that you don’t have to have a connection to a veteran to make a donation. If you feel that the service of military veterans is deserving of appropriate recognition, simple send in or drop off a donation.
Working on the project is an ad hoc committee headed by Rich Appel, U.S. Army LTC retired, who has multiple combat tours during his 24 years of service. Members are Don Kampfer, representing the Veterans of Foreign Wars: Kent Katalinick, American Legion; Don Gehl, Disabled American Veterans; Bill Krizak, Calumet County Veterans service officer; Shawn Reilly, Kim Mckeen, Rick Nelson, Lee and Vicki Roehrig, members at large. Glen Calnin, State Bank of Chilton, is the project’s treasurer.