Preparations to honor; 55 new pavers installed at Veteran’s Memorial in time for Memorial Day

The Mower County Sentenced to Serve crew cleans up the Veteran's Memorial Thursday morning. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

The Mower County Sentenced to Serve crew cleans up the Veteran’s Memorial Thursday morning. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

When Austin gathers for Memorial Day Monday at the Mower County Veterans Memorial, people will see a sign the community is nearing a longstanding goal to recognize veterans’ service.

Jeff Anderson of Anderson Memorial installed about 55 new pavers to the memorial on the lawn of the Mower County Government Center Friday, bringing the total number to about 1,028 and a little closer to the original goal of 1,056.

Anderson Memorial owner Jeff Anderson places a batch of 55 pavers at the Mower County Veterans Memorial Friday afternoon in preperation for Memorial Day. After a string of sales, 1,028 pavers have sold and the project is nearing the goal of 1,056 pavers. Jason Schoonover/jason.schoonover@austindailyherald.com

Anderson Memorial owner Jeff Anderson places a batch of 55 pavers at the Mower County Veterans Memorial Friday afternoon in preperation for Memorial Day. After a string of sales, 1,028 pavers have sold and the project is nearing the goal of 1,056 pavers. Jason Schoonover/jason.schoonover@austindailyherald.com

“We’ve been shooting for that for a long time,” Anderson said Friday.

For Veterans Memorial Committee President Norm Hecimovich, the memorial is a bit like Memorial Day itself: It’s a key way to recognize veterans’ service.

“We’ve got to continue to honor these people because freedom doesn’t come at a cheap price,” he said.

The Veterans Memorial hit 1,000 pavers earlier this spring, which sparked a run of additional sales.

The Veterans Memorial started in the early 1990s with a memorial wall that honors all the Mower County veterans who lost their lives in U.S. wars. But Hecimovich and others wanted something to honor all veterans, including those who served and returned home. That’s where the pavers, which cost $300 each, came in.

But Memorial Day is about more than the memorial and the pavers, as services and events are planned across Austin and Mower County Monday.

To incoming American Legion Commander Kirk Olsen, the most important part of Memorial Day is remembering soldiers lost in conflicts.

“It’s honoring our fallen comrades,” Olsen said.

In Austin, the day will begin with flag raisings at 6:50 a.m. at the VFW and American Legion, and events include a 7 a.m. breakfast at the legion, a 7:45 a.m. program at the Veterans Memorial and a parade at 8:45 a.m.

The many annual services will return to area cemeteries, which is an important part of the day to Rollie Hanson, outgoing Commander of American Legion Post 91.

“The cemeteries always look so beautiful when they’re decorated up,” Hanson said.

Anderson Memorial owner Jeff Anderson places a batch of 55 pavers at the Mower County Veterans Memorial Friday afternoon in preperation for Memorial Day. After a string of sales, 1,028 pavers have sold and the project is nearing the goal of 1,056 pavers. Jason Schoonover/jason.schoonover@austindailyherald.com

Anderson Memorial owner Jeff Anderson places a batch of 55 pavers at the Mower County Veterans Memorial Friday afternoon in preperation for Memorial Day. After a string of sales, 1,028 pavers have sold and the project is nearing the goal of 1,056 pavers. Jason Schoonover/jason.schoonover@austindailyherald.com

While Memorial Day recognizes soldiers who’ve given the ultimate sacrifice, Hanson noted it’s also important to recognize those currently serving in the military.

“That’s my biggest concern, is that flag will always be free,” Hanson said.

Hecimovich noted it’s important to recognize veterans and the people who secure Americans’ freedom to do things like take a fishing trip on the long Memorial Day weekend.

“It’s an opportunity that we have, and it’s very important,” he said.

Work on the memorial will continue after Memorial Day. With the initial paver spots essentially filled, Anderson said they’ll start new rows for pavers, possibly along the sidewalks parallel to Second Avenue Northeast and the Main Street.

While 1,028 pavers have sold, Anderson noted it may be a bit before all are installed permanently at the memorial. He planned to finish a row along the center walkway of the memorial, but he noted some of the pavers may be temporarily installed for the holiday and then removed until an entire row is filled.

Hecimovich and others involved in the pavers have maintained the project won’t end with 1,056, as they want to ensure there’s always a place to recognize veterans.

Memorial Day forecast: Showers likely and possibly thunderstorms before 11 a.m. Then mostly cloudy with a high near 74. Breezy, with a south wind 10 to 17 mph and 25 mph gusts. Chance of precipitation is 60 percent. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms. — National Weather Service

 Austin Memorial Day schedule

•6:50 a.m. — Flag Raising at VFW and American Legion
•7 a.m. — Breakfast for all Memorial Day Participants at American Legion Post 91
•7:45 a.m. — Raise Flag and Program at Veterans Memorial – Mower County Courthouse
•8:30 a.m. — Parade Line-up Fourth Avenue NE
•8:45 a.m. — Parade (Fourth Ave. NE, South on Main St. and East on Second Ave. NE) Parade will happen rain or shine. Only person who can call off parade is American Legion incoming Commander Kirk Olsen
•9:30 a.m. — Memorial Day Service at Oakwood Cemetery
•10:15 a.m.  — Honor Navy, Marine and Coast Guard Service Persons buried at sea at the Fourth Avenue Northeast bridge with firing a salute and depositing of the wreath in the river.

Cemetery Services
•11 a.m.  — Calvary Cemetery by VFW/DAV; Grandview Cemetery by American Legion
•11:30 a.m. — Enterprise by American Legion; Lansing by VFW/DAV
•Noon  —  Midway/Oakland by VFW/DAV

 Service Orders

Order of Services: Veterans Memorial at 7:45 a.m.
•President: Norman E. Hecimovich

•Invocation: Pastor Marv Repinski

•Flag Raising (all flags)

•National Anthem

•Pledge of Allegiance: All Participants

•Talk & Dedication: Norman E. Hecimovich

•Present the Wreath: American Legion, DAV, VFW Commanders & Auxiliary

•Firing Salute: Roger Reller/American Legion

•Taps

•Benediction: Pastor Marv Repinski

Order of Service: Soldiers Monument Service at Oakwood Cemetery at 9:30 a.m.
Units taking part in this service at the Soldier Monument will proceed to Oakwood Cemetery immediately following the parade.
•Acting Chairman: Roger Reller

•Invocation: Pastor Marv Repinski

•National Anthem: Austin High School

•Talk: Norman E. Hecimovich & James Hecimovich

•Dedication of Tributes: Roger Reller

•Firing Salute: American Legion/Rollie Hanson

•Taps

•Benediction: Pastor Marv Repinski

Order of Service: Fourth Avenue Northeast Bridge at 10:15 a.m.
All service organizations will participate in the Navy, Marine, Coast Guard and Merchant Marines tribute to those buried at sea immediately following the service at Oakwood.
Acting Chairman: Roger Reller

•Invocation: Pastor Marv Repinski

•Tossing of the Memorial Wreath by Auxiliary Presidents: Jan Ball, Jean Ball, Sue Kuchera

•Firing Salute: American Legion/Rollie Hanson.

•Taps

•Benediction: Pastor Marv Repinski

Order of Service: Memorial Day Parade 
• 8:30 a.m. — The parade will form up at the 300, Fourth Ave. NE. (VFW Club).
• 8:45 a.m. — The parade will move out rain or shine.  The only person who can call off the parade is the Marshall of the Day, Kirk Olsen, Commander, VFW Post 1216
Parade route: The divisions will move from their respective position onto Fourth Ave NE, west to main street, south on main, then east on Second St. St NE and end at the VFW.

Parade order:

• First Division — VFW Post 1216 Color Guard, VFW Auxiliary 1216, Gold Star Mothers, Austin High Band, Military Order of Cooties, VFW Men’s Auxiliary.
• Second Division — American Legion Post 91 Color Guard and Escort, American Legion Auxiliary, Boy Scouts and Flags, Mower County Veteran’s Van
• Third Division — Disabled American Veterans Chapter No. 27, Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary, I.J. Holton Orchestra, Mayor Tom Stiehm, Knights of Columbus No. 1201, Eagles AERIE No. 703 and Auxiliary, Moose Lodge No. 1180 and Women of the Moose, Masons, Eastern Star and Shrine Band, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and any units not listed will fall in behind the Boy Scouts.

 Blooming Prairie

•9:30 a.m. — Coffee and treats for parade marchers at Blooming Serviceman’s Club

•10:30 a.m. — Parade starting at Prairie Plumbing on Hwy. 218
•11 a.m. — Memorial Day service at Blooming Prairie City Cemetery south of town. Speaker will be Father Steve Peterson. (In case of rain, service at Blooming Prairie Servicemen’s Club)
Noon — Potluck lunch at the Blooming Prairie Servicemen’s Club, followed by a program Recognition for Voice of Democracy essay contest, Patriotic Art winners, will give away Quilts of Valor

(Public is welcome, bring a dish)

 Grand Meadow

•8 a.m. — Immanuel Lutheran & Pleasant Valley Cemeteries
•8:15 a.m. — St. John’s
•8:35 a.m. — Racine-Salem Cemetery
•8:50 a.m. — Sumner Cemetery
•9:10 a.m. — Hamilton Cemetery
•9:25 a.m. — Frankfort Cemetery
•9:40 a.m. — Bear Creek Cemetery
•10:15 a.m. — Program at Grand Meadow High School
•11:15 a.m. — Grand Meadow Cemetery
•11:30 a.m. — St. Finbar’s Cemetery
•11:45 a.m. — Dexter Cemetery
•12:05 p.m. — Zion Lutheran Cemetery
•12:30 p.m. — Trinity Evangelical Lutheran
•12:45 p.m. — Hoflanda Cemetery

 Hayfield

•8:05 a.m. — Trinity Cemetery, Waltham

•8:25 a.m. — St. Michael’s Cemetery, Waltham

•8:50 a.m. — Greenwood Cemetery, south of Brownsdale/Hwy. 56

•9:15 a.m. — Waltham Cemetery, south of Waltham on Hwy. 56

•9:35 a.m. — St. John’s Cemetery, south of Sargeant

•10:10 a.m. — Evanger Lutheran Cemetery

•10:25 a.m. — West St. Olaf Cemetery

•11:10 a.m. — Fairview Cemetery, Hayfield

•11:30 a.m. — Memorial Day program at downtown park in Hayfield (at HHS in case of inclement weather)

 LeRoy

•8:45 a.m. — Bethany Cemetery
•9:15 a.m. — Sea tribute program at the trail head of the Shooting Star Trail
•10:15 a.m. — Service at the cemetery in LeRoy

—In case of rain, all services will be at 10 a.m. at the LeRoy Community Center.

 Lyle

•9 a.m. — Cedar City Cemetery
•9:30 a.m. — London Cemetery
•10 a.m. — Dear Creek
•10:30 a.m. — Woodbury
•11 a.m. — Mona, Iowa
•11:30 a.m. — Six Mile Grove, followed by a noon lunch

Mower County

Austin Utilities issues peak alert for Monday

Mower County

Waters drop around Austin, clean-up begins

Mower County

Walz authorizes Minnesota National Guard to support emergency flood operations

Mower County

Afternoon storms brings more flash flooding to Austin

Crime, Courts & Emergencies

Austin man injured in Friday evening crash

Mower County

Photos: Flooding creates issues across the area

Mower County

Area copes with aftermath of heavy rains, flooding

Mower County

Sargeant man involved in five-car crash in Olmsted County

Mower County

Photos: Llama Party — Lamapalooza settles in for another year at the fairgrounds

News

‘Adventures of Tom Sawyer’ begins June 27

Education

Apply for free during Minnesota State Week

Education

Austin grad part of SDSU team comes up just short for quarter-scale tractor threepeat

Education

Education: Accolades

Mower County

In Your Community: Duplicate Bridge

Mower County

In Your Community: Mower County Senior Center

News

Judy Garland’s hometown is raising funds to purchase stolen ‘Wizard of Oz’ ruby slippers

News

Historic Superior lighthouse sold at auction 5 years ago is available once again

News

NY prosecutors urge judge to keep gag order blocking Trump from criticizing jurors

Mower County

Humane Society recommends tips for keeping your pet safe during hot weather

Crime, Courts & Emergencies

Convictions: June 10-17

News

FEMA is ready for an extreme hurricane and wildfire season, but money is a concern, Mayorkas says

News

The Supreme Court upholds a gun control law intended to protect domestic violence victims

Business

New liquor store opens at Clark One Stop Liquor & Tobacco

Mower County

UPDATE: Flood watch, flood warning put into effect for Cedar River, Turtle Creek