The American Legion of Montana
American Legion Post # 80 looks to break ground in April, 2013 for a Teton County Veteran Memorial to honor all veterans from Teton County. To be located in the Fairfield American Legion Park near the present park sign, the Memorial will feature a central pedestal with five sides, one for each branch of the five Armed Forces, bearing their emblem and branch name in a gold circle. Surrounding the pedestal are three angled wall units (with provision for expansion) to hold more than a thousand plaques, each bearing a veteran’s name. Rising from the central pedestal will be two hands releasing five doves in flight, as symbols of peace, again one for each of the five branches of our Armed Forces. This beautiful sculpture is titled “Wings of Honor.” Memorial benches for civilian persons in the war effort will profile the edges of the memorial. A formal dedication is planned for Swim Day in July, 2013.
A memorial to veterans had occasionally been discussed at Legion meetings the past two years with Steve Allum suggesting using a tank or airplane. Either could be procured free but the cost of transportation would be prohibitive. After more time passed Mike Henning firmly stated, “We need a veterans’ memorial.” With those catalysts the ball got rolling. At a small September, 2012 meeting Al Oakley, Al Lettengarver, Steve Lettengarver, Charles McWilliams and Laurence Vincent said, “Let’s do it!” The memorial model came together in December, 2012 through the talents of Diane Haus-mann at the Hausmann Studio.
In early 2013, the American Legion Memorial Committee began to take shape to carry the project forward. Al Oakley and Steve Lettengarver serve as co-chairs and treasurers with Diane Hausmann as secretary. Other committee members are Tom Toeckes representing Power, Ron Ostberg from the county, Mike Henning representing the Fairfield Lions Club and community, Fairfield Legion Commander, Laurence Vincent, and persons yet to be finalized through ongoing conversations for a representative from the Choteau and Dutton communities. The local Avory Dehnert Post #4109 of the V.F.W. is cooperating.
Construction will start soon after the groundbreaking with all volunteer labor. Mark Dale has volunteered the ground work and Alan Gagne the concrete work. There will be plenty of work for the many volunteers who will want to help. Start-up funding is seeded by the Fairfield American Legion. Besides construction material costs a fund for maintenance and lighting costs, will be maintained. Each plaque with a veteran’s name will sell for two hundred dollars. The Memorial benches to honor civilians who worked in the war efforts will be available for purchase. These civilians, for example, would be Merchant Marines, “Rosie the Riveter” and non military nurses etc. The V.F.W., Lions Club, and Legion members have made contributions. Any and all support donations from the public are welcome and appreciated. Checks may be made to Teton County Veteran Memorial. Follow-up articles for public information are planned.
This Teton County Veteran Memorial is a worthy, timely project that will impact and enrich all of us. To be reminded of the sacrifice of life, limb and time of service away from home enlarges our understanding of who we are as a nation and the importance of giving back to those who served and to our communities, country and world.
Article From Fairfield Sun Times