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Waupun memorial expanding: Organizers' goal to honor all veterans
WiscNews - 9/13/2022
Sep. 12—WAUPUN — What began as an effort to honor all servicemen and servicewomen for their time in the Armed Forces is about to expand, thanks to the ongoing efforts of American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars members and the community at-large.
"Our Waupun Veterans Memorial Wall is a tribute to all Waupun area veterans who have served or are now serving the country from the War of 1812 up to the current war on terrorism," said Bob Patrouille, who coordinates the memorial efforts with fellow veteran Frank Mesa.
A total of 1,210 names are inscribed on the current five walls at Shaler Park on the city's north-central side. Seven more names will be added prior to next Memorial Day, leaving room for only 19 more.
Mesa summarized, "We started fundraising for the memorial in 2004, and the first wall was dedicated in 2008. That's why we need a new wall, so we have room to place more names."
Veterans both living and deceased are included. A total of 210 names fit on a side. The new wall will have room for 420 names, along with branches of service and names of conflicts.
"We get about 20 names a year," said Patrouille. "Ultimately we want to honor all veterans, no matter what branch they served in or where they served."
"In peacetime and in war," added Mesa.
The new wall will be installed this fall. There is a name submission deadline of Oct. 11 for Veterans Day and April 1, 2023, for Memorial Day. The cost is $100 per name, which covers the cost of engraving and incidental expenses.
The total goal for the stone is $9,000, of which $2,000 has already been raised. Local businesses and individuals have supported past and present efforts, and will likely contribute in the future.
"A lot of this is donations to prepare for and install the wall as well," said Mesa. "We get a lot of support from all parts of the community. We've come a long way from where we started, thanks to people's generosity and the desire to honor all of those who served."
One name was accidentally repeated on the walls — the result of two different family members requesting the honor.
"It was unfortunate, but it's not an easy thing to find," said Mesa of the error.
He explained that veterans are honored as their names are submitted, and are not listed in any particular order. Now a master list will prevent such occurrences from happening again.
Another project is paving the memorial to allow better handicap access. Organizers also want to install a flag to honor the United States Space Force. While the City of Waupun maintains the park, money is also needed to replace worn flags and to allow for ongoing maintenance.
For more information, or to add a name to the walls call the project director at 920-324-4641. Applications can be picked up at the National Exchange Bank & Trust, 210 E. Main St.
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