Hundreds attended the dedication of the Gold Star Families Memorial Monument on June 25 on the grounds of the Government Services Building in Mantorville. Dozens of American flags were displayed around the grounds and members of the Kasson American Legion Post #333 presented the flag for the ceremony.
Scott Eggert served as master of ceremonies and tears flowed freely as he and other speakers talked about what it means to be part of a Gold Star Family. Kay Swenson, who lost her son Marine Lance Corporal Curtis Swenson, in April 2010 in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, said, “Not one of us wanted to belong to this Gold Star family. Achieving this honor, we had to give up our greatest treasure. In losing my son, I lost part of my past and future.”
Honorable Colonel Rod Peterson, Retired, talked about an incident when he was deployed in Afghanistan. He was speaking to his wife on the phone when an artillery shell exploded nearby. Communications were abruptly cut off and no news could get out for 24 hours. When they finally were able to speak again, she was greatly relieved, but, Peterson said, “Others were not able to do that…to communicate again with their loved ones.”
The monument was built in a relatively short time. From the idea to fruition took only 30 months and that included the years 2020 and 2021 when so many industries were at a standstill.
This is the first Gold Star monument in the state and the 103rd in the U.S.
The committee that launched the idea and carried it through included Kay and Dave Swenson, Scott Eggert, Rod Peterson, Tim Hovei, Monica Eggert, Emily Woslager, and Teresa Czaplewski.
This group worked with the Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams Medal of Honor Foundation of Kentucky in conjunction with the CPL Curtis M. Swenson Memorial Fund.The memorial itself is a striking monument made of black granite and visitors may rest on nearby benches. Dodge County donated the site on the grounds of the Government Services Building and the adjacent parking lot makes it easy to visit.