The Sheveland-Taylor American Legion Post 14 of Iola is currently in the process of raising funds to upgrade Veterans Memorial Park.
Plans include installing a sidewalk and a new Gold Star Recipients Memorial at the park located in the 200 block of North Main Street.
The new memorial will honor 20 military personnel from Iola, Scandinavia and Ogdensburg who lost their lives while fighting for our freedom during five different wars.
The proposed sidewalk will make it easier for all visitors to be able to get to the existing marble monuments. This access currently can be very difficult for those in wheelchairs or using walkers, because of the uneven ground.
The existing marble monuments honor all of those from Iola and Scandinavia who have served in the military.
The new Gold Star Recipients Memorial will feature a bronze sculpture called the ‘Fallen Soldier,’ which was designed after the ceremonial arrangement that soldiers do themselves in the battle field when one of their own loses their life.
When the life of a serviceman or woman is lost on the battlefield, it is customary to arrange their boots, rifle and helmet in what is known as a Battlefield Cross, or a Battle Cross.
The surviving members of their squad gather around and memorialize their fallen comrades. Some of the troops will pray, others might recall personal stories, in a ceremony that is taken very seriously.
The Sheveland-Taylor American Legion Post 14 wanted a memorial that would show gratitude to these 20 men and make visitors stop and think about the cost of war.
The bronze sculpture of the ‘Fallen Soldier’ will be placed on a 3-foot-high octagon base that will feature eight bronze plaques honoring those who lost their lives.
The following veterans are being honored:
American Civil War: First Sgt. Joseph S. Burnham, Iola; Thomas Ginty, Iola; Sgt. Hans Gunderson, Scandinavia; Peter O. Harstad, Iola; Soren Jacobson, Scandinavia; Soren Johnson, Iola; Pvt. Simon A. Myhre, Scandinavia; Simon Peterson, Scandinavia; Thomas Torstenson, Scandinavia.
World War I: Pfc. Barney M. Sheveland, Scandinavia; Cpl. Clarence Strand, Iola; Pvt. Martin Thorson, Iola.
World War II: Lt. Charles Gottschalk, Scandinavia; Staff Sgt. Elroy J. Olson, Iola, Wisconsin; Pfc. Hugh L. Phelps, Ogdensburg; Staff Sgt. Donald E. Taylor, Iola; Pfc. Clifford W. Torgerson, Scandinavia; Pfc. Lloyd Tschurwald, Iola. Korean War: Pfc. Gordon Peterson, Iola.
Vietnam War: Cpl. Carl Dennis Ruenger, Iola.
Another feature to the new monument will be a POW/MIA flag with the flag pole being on the octagon base honoring those who were or are either a Prisoner of War (POW) or Missing in Action (MIA). The POW/MIA flag will be flown 24 hours a day with proper lighting.
The American Legion is currently raising funds for the materials and labor for the project, which will cost approximately $22,000. Donations payable to American Legion Post 14 can be sent to: Lyle Mork, c/o Sheveland-Taylor American Legion Post 14, 295 Blaine St., Iola, WI 54945.
For more information, call Lyle Mork at 715-347-1328.