Veterans Raise Money for New Memorial

Posted at: 01/12/2013 10:48 PM
Updated at: 01/13/2013 3:33 PM
By: Jenna Lohse

(ABC 6 News--)A veterans memorial is one way to honor soldiers who sacrificed their lives, and now a new one could be coming to our area.

The idea started with three cousins. They all fought in World War II, and are now raising money to fulfill their dream of creating a veterans memorial.

A Saturday morning in Myrtle, means coffee at the local pub.

"It's the only café in town," said Milo Belshan.

Cousins Milo Belshan and Emil Pranter have been coming here for years.

"We didn't have to many people from the start, but it's getting bigger all the time," said Emil Prantner

"We have a good time visiting and lying to each other a little bit, you know how that goes," said Belshan

"Most of us are old timers here, we’ve been around for quite a while," said Prantner.

The two of them and their cousin Ernie Benesh entered the service from Freeborn County starting in 1941.

"I got a long stretch of it. Four years and seven months," said Prantner.

These combat cousins had an idea that's coming to life.

"We thought we should do something local here for our vets that are buried in our cemetery, something a little more respectful," said Belshan.

A wish to honor fallen veterans with a memorial in the Bohemian National Cemetery just north of Myrtle.

"There's 45 buried there I believe and it won't be long till there's a lot more WWII'ers anyway," said Belshan

A sidewalk leading to a granite wall etched with names and a statue of a soldier are what they have in mind.

"We know what we want to do, we haven't measured the area yet to know with its going to be, so it’s not in granite here quite yet, let’s put it that way," said Belshan

With the support of the community, there's hope of breaking ground this summer.

"We came up with the idea but we kind of put the leg work on some of the younger people," said Belshan

"Veterans should be recognized regardless of what war or time they went through because they give up a piece of their lives to protect their country," said Myrtle resident Dennis Rayman.

Coming together to make three soldiers dreams come true.  

"Memorials are kind of popping up around here you know? So we kind of got it in our old mind that it's time that we go ahead and do it, because we don't have much time you know," said Belshan.

The community has been very supportive of this idea. Tomorrow they are holding a "Meet the Vets" pancake breakfast at Glenville American Legion from 7:30 a.m. To 12:30 p.m. where all donations will go to the vet's memorial fund.