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First pavers installed at Veterans’ Memorial

About 15 years after it was purchased, Ingmund K. Johnson’s paver recognizing his service in the Army during World War II was the first paver placed Monday at the Mower County Veterans’ Memorial.

Crews from Anderson Memorial will install the first batch of about 290 black granite pavers this week along the center sidewalk of the memorial. The goal is to have the pavers installed in time for the Memorial Day service on May 31.

“I think it’s going to be exciting for a lot of people,” said Jeff Anderson, owner of Anderson Memorial. “Now they’ll actually be able to see it coming to pass and see them installed.”

With the project first planned more than a decade ago, many area veterans are eager to see the first pavers in the ground, he said.

Ron Hanson even had the chance to place a paver recognizing his service in the Army from 1965-1967.

“Think of all the years we’ve waited for this,” he said as he looked at the pavers.

About 340 pavers have been sold so far, and about 600 total pavers need to be sold to raise enough money to install the statue at the center of the memorial.

“We need to get to that point as soon as possible this summer,” Anderson said.

Anderson said he and other Veterans’ Committee members hope the Memorial Day services and the completed pavers will inspire people to purchase pavers.

Committee members are currently targeting September as the date to dedicate the statue.

The Veterans’ Committee is showing the film “The Conscientious Objector” tonight in Austin High School’s Knowlton Auditorium at 7 p.m. to raise money for the memorial.

Tickets for the film are $7 at the door. All proceeds go toward the statue.