Every day we celebrate our veterans, but one man is going the extra mile to make sure servicemen and women are being recognized.
Veterans Day is around the corner, and the McKenzie County Veterans service is putting the finishing touches on their new Memorial Park.
“The previous park had a hundred flag poles made out of oil field pipe, had a little cemetery and we just thought that over time we needed to upgrade,” said Jerry Samuelson.
And upgrade is exactly what they’ve done.
The memorial site is estimated to cost over $3 million.
2.5 million of it was raised over the past six years and was put towards phase one. Samuelson said the community backing has been incredible.
“Private donations are almost half of the funds raised for this park. So it’s truly amazing,” said Samuelson.
Granite slabs that surround the park have over 2,000 names of men and women who have served our country and once the park is done, its hoped to be a place where their families can come and feel a sense of pride.
“We had young kids that donated some of their pocket change, if you will, to this park because they have grandparents, great-grandparents, parents, whose name is on the wall, “said Samuelson.
One of those names is George Hayden, a 94-year-old navy veteran who served during World War II.
“It’s just mind bottling to picture what their dream has turned out to be. It’s just great,” said Hayden.
A native of Williston, Hayden moved to McKenzie County in the 1950s and has called it home ever since. He said even though the park isn’t finished, he’s enjoyed it so far.
“We had a body shop here in Watford City that we started in ’59. So there are so many familiar names when you do business at a place for thirty years,” said Hayden.
Samuelson describes the project as a labor of love, and when it’s done, he hopes it honors the men and woman who have given their all for this country.
Samuelson said on Veterans Day, they will have a blessing ceremony for the park. He also says they expect to have the full park completed by Veterans Day 2020.