In the small western Kansas town of Bucklin, farmers and ranchers took a brief break from fall activities to salute veterans.
On Nov. 11, U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran spoke from the north end of Main Street to thank veterans and to voice his admiration for Garin Stimpert, a 16-year-old Bucklin High School student and Boy Scout, who had a goal to establish a veterans park that includes a granite memorial.
Bucklin has for many years had Veterans Day activities, Stimpert said in thinking back to the start of the project, which began in September 2019. He thought if there were way to have a permanent park where veterans could be thanked, it would add to what he called a great community event.
“I thought it would be great to show our appreciation to the veterans for all they did for us.”
His dad, Roger, and Building Solutions, Dodge City, created the master plan. “Our vision was on paper and they brought it to life.”
The project itself cost $45,000 and Stimpert made over 20 presentations to garner donations. J-A-G Construction, Dodge City, also was a major corporate contributor along with Building Solutions.
During ceremonies, the Eagle Scout thanked those who donated materials, made financial contributions and volunteered to make the project happen. Special thanks were offered to Building Solutions and J-A-G Construction, his Boy Scout leaders and members of the Bucklin American Legion for their support and encouragement.
“Our liberties and values stand today because of the brave men and women who have been ready to face the fire and we thank God for each and everyone of them,” Stimpert said.
Veterans come from all walks of life but they all have qualities that include courage, pride and determination, selflessness, dedication, duty and integrity, he said.
His hope is that the memorial and park will be a place where families can gather to take photos, veterans can share stories and have a place they can go for quiet contemplation and reflection.
“We dedicate this memorial so that children can learn lessons of freedom from parents and grandparents,” Stimpert said.
Moran said Bucklin, and many other communities that have public remembrances, are doing what is right in America. The gatherings speak to the commitment of the country to know and to see.
“It would be too easy for people to go on about their daily lives, and in fact too many Americans do exactly that, on this special day Nov. 11,” he said.
Paying tribute and recognizing those who served in the military is important, he said.
“We have greater freedoms and more opportunities because there are men and women throughout the history of our nation who stepped forward to make a difference, to protect the freedoms guaranteed to us by the United States Constitution,” Moran said.
Moran said will continue to press for funding and policies that can help veterans who face mental and physical health problems.
The Nov. 11 event included the Bucklin High School marching band playing patriotic music saluting the branches of the military. Dave Christopher, a Vietnam veteran and community volunteer who spent many hours helping fellow veterans, served as parade marshal. The activity included the playing of “Taps” and a rifle salute to fallen veterans. Miranda Ellis sang “America the Beautiful.”
Dave Bergmeier can be reached at 620-227-1822 or email@example.com.