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Dent Veterans Memorial completed

The Veterans Memorial Park in Dent proudly displays the names of men and women who have served in the Armed Forces for the United States of America. Photo by Christopher Michalski/FOCUS

Dent's American Legion, Post 148, has completed its construction of the Veterans Memorial Park.

A plaque in the center of the pillars dedicates the memorial to, "All past, present, and future veterans who have or who will serve their country."

The project took 18 months, according to Don Seifert, former commander of Dent's American Legion, Post 148.

The memorial was dedicated last year, but will be re-dedicated next Memorial Day in a celebration of its completion.

Eugene Stoll had the idea and began acquiring pictures of other towns with veterans memorials around the state.

Along with George Fick and Al Fresonke, Stoll supplied all of the names, telephone numbers, and names of families to Seifert.

Seifert commissioned Legion members Harold Locken, Dorvin Wendet, and Jim Stoderl to conceptualize the project.

"They worked with Dent Lakes Granite, drew up the plans, and did a lot of work," Seifert said.

The Legion had to first get the approval of the Department of Transportation in Detroit Lakes, then sought approval to change the name from "Highway Park" to "Veterans Memorial Park", and had a motion pass through the city council to recognize it as such.

"The state has been incredibly helpful," said Seifert.

Those honored

The first name to be engraved in the granite was Dent resident Walter A. Hamerail, who was killed in action in World War I, and Post 148 was subsequently named after him.

The names of the 15 original charter members went up first, followed by 323 names of servicemen engraved in white.

Engraved in gold are seven servicemen killed in action (KIA), one missing in action (MIA), and three prisoners of war (POW).

Thirteen Civil War soldiers from the Dent area are engraved in the memorial in silver.

The back of one pillar remains blank for future men and women of the Armed Forces in the Dent area.

Within the structure, diagonal bricks signify the flight of the Air Force; upright bricks are soldiers and sailors standing at attention; inward bricks represent MIA, KIA, and POWs; the horizontal bricks are the servicemen who "came home in caskets"; and the "V" joints commemorate victory in Europe.

Helping hands

Resident Mike Lang, from Dent Lakes Granite, supplied the Legion with a price for the granite. Through goodwill donations and cost-per-name funding, names were engraved on the six pillars, with funds set aside for upkeep, replacement flags and landscaping.

"Mike and his wife Liz supplied us with a lot of advice and help," Seifert said.

Diane Rhode-Szarke, who lost her fiancé in the Vietnam War, made a generous donation, Seifert said. Dennis Hoffman also provided a generous donation, he said.

Everett Mostue, a member of the Sons of the American Legion (SAL), dedicated his time as a bricklayer to set up the orientation of the bricks.

Local business Hexum Buildings Corporation donated the cement and labor for the project.

Mr. and Mrs. Don Seifert donated the extra brick and cement for the additional two pillars. An anonymous donor gave $1,000 to the Legion to get the project off of the ground.

Individual members of Post 148 donated the flag posts and flags surrounding the six granite pillars.

"We owe a lot of gratitude to the state, the citizens of Dent, Hexum Builders, the city of Dent, Everett Mostue, Dent Granite, and Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Stoll," said Seifert and members of American Legion Post 148.