A sketch of the future Veterans Memorial addition in Ossian. Situated at the entrance will be two eagles and two benches surrounded by bronze-finished concrete statues. Also featured will be two new plaques in memory of local Veterans: Gunnery Sergeant Jeffrey Edward Bohr, Jr. and Lieutenant Rodney Nicholson, Jr.
By Kate Klimesh,
Additions to Ossian’s Veterans Memorial were discussed last fall after learning of the bravery of two area Veterans: Gunnery Sergeant Jeffrey Edward Bohr Jr. and Lieutenant Rodney Nicholson Jr.
Bohr’s brave sacrifice in Baghdad saved others, and Nicholson gave his life to save an entire town in Japan as an Air Force test pilot. The addition of two plaques in their memory are planned for the memorial.
Additionally, four life-size concrete statues representing the armed forces will be installed along with two eagle statues flanking the entrance, two benches and added statues of a kneeling Veteran and a female Veteran.
As this 20’x20’ space is planned where the current memorial is located, the existing All Veterans Memorial monument will be moved back about 10 feet from its current spot. These additions will redefine the Veterans Memorial space in Ossian’s Carey Park.
Ossian business owner and city councilperson Sue Lienau stated, “It’s turned out to be a much bigger project than it started. We have had a significant response from the community, though, including people who have donated toward specific statues or plaques in memory of their loved ones.”
She has been working closely with the American Legion and the city on the project and is grateful for the community support.
Parts are in motion and are waiting for their appropriate time to become “set in stone,” so to speak. Nicholson’s plaque is expected soon and will be ready for installation. The plaque is being created by West Union Monument.
Organizers liked the Winneshiek County Veterans Memorial benches so well that they added two to their design, positioned at the entrance so those visiting the memorial can view everything from either bench.
The bases for the eagles will use the same stone from the pavilion and digital sign in Carey Park to maintain the look and feel. Reilly Construction has agreed to assist with the Veterans Memorial. They will move the existing memorial stone to its new location and will deliver the new statues to the park once completed. Additionally, Reilly has donated a white chain link fence to be placed around the memorial.
But first, the cement work needs to be completed so everything else can fall into place. Following cement work, the main stone will be set, both new plaques installed and the four of the bronze-finish concrete statues installed. Currently, the Air Force and Navy statues are waiting for molds to be completed.
Work is expected to be completed by this fall, Lienau reported. All, that is, except the funding. While the original project was estimated at $20,000 and organizers have raised just over that amount, the new project’s total cost is estimated at $45,000. “Local Veterans have contributed significantly to the project, and Rodney Nicholson’s daughter, Sandy, contributed a generous gift towards her dad’s plaque. We’re going to invite her down for the dedication ceremony,” Lienau added. “When this is done, it will be so beautiful for the city and to honor all our Veterans in Ossian.”
The Depot Outlet, AcenTek Foundation and Casey’s General Store have also awarded grants toward the project.
For more information on memorial plans, contact Alvin Hageman at 563-379-1928 or Sue Lienau at 563-379-7739. Donations toward the project can be sent to: Ossian City Clerk, C/O Veterans Memorial Fund, PO Box 295, Ossian, IA 52161.