Supporters of Madison's veterans honor park -- which is currently under construction -- received a pleasant and most generous gift from officials with First Premier Bank on Tuesday when the Sioux Falls-based financial institution contributed $50,000 to the construction fund.
Floyd Rummel, First Premier vice president in Madison, and Tony Nour, First Premier senior vice president, met with representatives from Madison's VFW and American Legion posts and other area residents at the honor park site located along S. Washington Ave. to present the donation.
Rummel spoke on behalf of First Premier, telling supporters that he and his colleagues believed the project would perform a great service in honoring past and current military personnel and their families. Nour commented that he was impressed with the amount of community support the park project was receiving.
"I view this park as a really good fit as a project for us at First Premier to support," Rummel said. "Its location provides a great spot for our community to honor veterans."
According to Rummel, park committee members Dan Fritz and Paul Hansen had initially contacted him about a donation to help construct the honor park. Later, Roy Lindsay, another honor park supporter, made a second pitch for financial support.
At Tuesday's gathering, Lindsay explained the park's layout, assisted by a model diorama that supporters had brought. Afterward, Danny Frisby-Griffin, another park supporter and local veterans group member, described for Nour how craftsmen were currently designing and engraving black granite panels that would contain veterans' names submitted for display. Frisby-Griffin said the craftsmen planned to deliver the granite panels in stages after certain portions of them were completed.
Park supporters are asking that veterans or their families provide an honorarium of $200 per person to have a veteran's name inscribed on the granite panels.
Members of Madison's Ronald Westby VFW and McKibben-Mosher American Legion posts have worked for the last several years to construct the park, starting with a donation of land from Jerry and Sue Larsen of Madison. Site preparation started earlier this year, and a masonry contractor started building two honor walls this spring.
Lindsay, a former Madison mayor, had told Rummel about how the honor park would also contain displays for the nation's military branches, a presentation of the milestones for military veterans' tours of service, walking paths and a flag-retirement site. Both Lindsay and Frisby-Griffin said the park's supporters hope to see substantial construction progress by fall.
Interested parties can mail honor park donations to Veterans Honor Park, VFW Post 2638, 510. S. Washington Ave., Madison, S.D., 57042. Donors who contribute $500 or more will have their names or a veteran's name etched onto a donor wall.