Veterans memorial construction to start in springJanuary 8, 2019
By LEANN BURKE
FERDINAND — A veterans memorial will take shape on Ferdinand’s north side this spring.
For years, Leon Weyer, a Marine Corps veteran, wondered what to do with a strip of land near Pine Drive and visible from State Road 162 that he inherited from his father. About three years ago, he decided the land was perfect for a veterans memorial and started working with the Ferdinand American Legion, where he’s a member, and Seufert Construction to make the memorial a reality.
Beginning in March, Weyer’s dream will become a reality.
Current plans for the memorial show a long, narrow structure with a large stone with words of thanks for veterans, five smaller stones for each branch of the military and three flags on the property- — the U.S. flag, the Indiana flag and the black flag for prisoners of war and those missing in action. Visitors will be able to park on the street behind the memorial and walk through it.
Weyer and Seufert Construction plan to host a ground-breaking ceremony for the memorial sometime in the first half of March, with the dedication coming about two months later over Memorial Day weekend. Weyer realizes that’s a quick build time, but he’s optimistic it will come together. The monument stones are already in, Weyer said, and he’s working with Schum Monuments on the engravings now.
“It looks like we’re going to be in line to dedicate it that weekend,” he said.
The Ferdinand Chamber of Commerce has partnered with Weyer on the project to incorporate a welcome sign into the memorial as well. Chamber President Mike Blume said the organization had been talking about adding a welcome sign on the north side of the town for several years — there already is a sign on the town’s south side near Interstate 64 — so when the Chamber heard of Weyer’s plans to put a memorial there, teaming up made sense.
“It’ll demonstrate our gratitude to our veterans and serve as a welcome to the town,” Blume said about the project.
Weyer is funding the project through donations, including a grant from the Dubois County Community Foundation. The grant came with a requirement that Weyer set up an endowment with the foundation for the memorial’s maintenance needs. So far, Weyer has raised enough to build the memorial, but is still raising funds for the endowment.
Anyone wishing to donate can mail checks to the Ferdinand American Legion, 425 Main St., Ferdinand, and note that the donation is for the veterans memorial.
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