Marquette County Veteran Memorial
It started in 2010 with a fund set up by Marquette County to accept donations for a future enhancement of the existing Marquette County Veterans Monument. The Neshkoro Senior Citizens, Shirley Floeter and Sandra Becker made the first three donations on May 20, 2010, totaling $155. Later that year, Lelon “Skip” Klemp, with the help of friends Jude and Gary Vlasek, initiated the White Lake Golf Outing to raise money for the fund. By the end of 2010, there was $2,347.37 total. The fund grew slowly with an additional $1,460 in 2011.
In 2012, the Marquette County Board established the Marquette County Veterans Memorial Ad Hoc Committee by resolution, assigning the County Veterans Service Officer (CVSO), Rich Hasse (retired Air Force Chief Master Sergeant), Dave Benson (US Marine Corps veteran) and the late Lelon “Skip” Klemp, (also a US Marine Corps veteran) as members. Rich Hasse left the committee in 2012 when he accepted the position of CVSO in Columbia County. Don Wilken (retired Navy Master Chief) became the new Marquette CVSO and member of the Ad Hoc Committee.
With the establishment of the ad hoc committee there came to be regular monthly public meetings with citizen participation. Some of the regulars at the meeting were Dan Klawitter, (Army veteran, recently resigned Marquette County Board member and assigned by Rich Hasse as committee member), Ken Kersky (Air Force veteran),Duane Mosely (Air Force veteran) Jerry Bynum (Vietnam Marine veteran), Dennis Glunn (Vietnam Army veteran), Jude and Gary Vlasek, Lesa Vich, and Irene Palmer. After the establishment of the ad hoc committee, the funds grew by approximately $7,800 that year. In late 2012, the ad hoc committee started selling brick markers and decals, which helped to make 2013’s fund raising extremely successful.
Unfortunately, Skip Klemp’s health started failing in 2013. Lesa Vich, Irene Palmer and Char Gibis became more involved in the White Lake Golf Outing. Late in 2013 our friend and committee member, Skip, passed on, leaving a big hole in the Marquette County Ad Hoc Committee and local community. Dennis Glunn, a strong supporter and active promoter for the memorial was asked to take his place on the committee and the resolution was amended by the Marquette County Board to have him take Skip’s place. Lesa Vich volunteered to run another White Lake Golf Outing in Skip’s honor in 2014, and so Lesa, Irene and Char were again very successful in generating funds. After the 2014 golf outing, these events, five in all, had generated an approximate gross of $20,900. We believe that Skip would be proud of how others came to pick up the flag and march on, seeing this mission through to the end.
Dave Benson performed superlatively as a general manager of sorts; generating blue prints, obtaining bids for construction, conferring with officials regarding codes and regulations, minimizing interference with street ways and establishing advertisements for fundraising events. He has donated numerous hours to the memorial was instrumental in the success of this process.
The local businesses and citizens of Marquette County have been extremely supportive of the Veterans Memorial. There were 17 major donations from local businesses, 8 donations from local American Legions and Veterans of Foreign Wars organizations and Auxiliaries, 2 from local churches and even one from the Montello Student Council. Numerous individuals have made donations from $500 to $1 dollar. They all add up.
In the spring of 2014 we finally had enough money to start the project. There were some unexpected delays but now the project was dedicated on August 16, 2014, at 9:30am.