St. Lucas Veterans Memorial plans finalized

St. Lucas Memorial plans finalized



Plans have now been finalized for The St. Lucas Veterans Memorial, which will be placed in the downtown area of St. Lucas, just south of the Community Center. Susan Nusz donated the land for the memorial earlier this year in memory of her late husband, LaWayne, who was also a veteran. St. Lucas Aloysius Schmitt American Legion Post 610, the St. Lucas Legion Auxiliary, and the City of St. Lucas are working cooperatively to make the memorial a reality and have now ordered the monuments from Sunburst Memorials of St. Cloud, Minn.

            “We ordered the three monuments through our local salesman, John Kuehner. The monuments will be made of black granite and will include a main monument to honor all of our local veterans, as well as two smaller monuments that will pay tribute to two St. Lucas veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country,” explained Post 610 Adjutant Melvin Bodensteiner.

            The two St. Lucas veterans who lost their lives while serving in the military are Father Aloysius Schmitt, a chaplain in the U.S. Navy, and Private First Class James Kruse, who served in the Army.

            Ironically, both of these men were not actively engaged in the fighting when they were killed, but rather were taking action to save the lives of others. Schmitt helped save the lives of many sailors before going down with the USS Oklahoma during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Kruse died from an intense enemy grenade attack near the village of My Trang in South Vietnam while serving as a medic, attempting to assist those wounded in battle.

            “There are at least 360 veterans from the St. Lucas area, and we would like to honor all of them by building this memorial,” Bodensteiner noted.

            In addition to the monuments, the memorial will include a white fence on the west and north side of the property, pavers on the walkway and area surrounding the monuments, black granite benches, three flagpoles, and a decorative garden with ornamental shrubs. Organizers hope to have everything in place by late fall of this year, with the exception of any final touches needed on the landscape work.

            “We will be using Reicks Landscapes of Lawler to do the landscaping work. We feel it is important to support local businesses as much as we can during the construction of the memorial,” said Bodensteiner.

            With an estimated $40,000 needed to complete the project, fundraising efforts are currently just over halfway to that goal. Bodensteiner said that they hope to receive donations from local businesses, residents of St. Lucas, friends and families of veterans, and St. Lucas natives who may now live elsewhere.

            “We have received wonderful support from our local banks and businesses in the past, and we hope that will continue. We also hope that those who grew up in this area and may have known some of our veterans or were related to them will also help us by donating to this worthwhile project,” said Bodensteiner, who lives just a few miles southeast of St. Lucas.

            Those who would like to contribute to the St. Lucas Veterans Memorial may do so through the St. Lucas Veterans Memorial Deposit at Bank First in St. Lucas or West Union, or by mailing their donations to Melvin Bodensteiner, 15598 Nature Road, West Union, IA 52175.

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