Town repurposes grain elevator to honor veterans

Eagle Grove, IA

Making the landscape work double-time, residents of Eagle Grove, Iowa, will remember military sacrifice every time they pass through town. The Veterans Memorial Tower recycles a once-abandoned grain elevator near downtown as a simple monument emblazoned with sayings such as "God bless America."

The 3,000-foot structure will also display military branch insignia and the POW/MIA flag. Other illustrations will commemorate 9/11 and the 34th Infantry Division, which used to be based in the town. The committee is seeking an artist to paint a farm-scene mural on one side.

Community and committee member Daryl Watts said the idea to convert an abandoned grain elevator into a memorial struck him because he does safety education about the structures.

Watts said the committee to construct the memorial has raised about a third of the $100,000 it estimates will be needed to complete the project.

"My favorite feature would probably be seeing something so easy to do but would make quite an impact on the community. ... Veterans need that," Watts said. "I wish I could put one on every elevator across the country."

Watts said getting veterans and community organizations involved in the project has been key. Legionnaire Don Deuel serves on the committee, and has an active advisory role.

"This goes beyond just being fundraisers or painting a building some place. This is about the supreme sacrifice - the more civic organizations that get involved in that, the better our message gets across," Watts said.

To donate or for more information, please write to P.O. Box 126, Eagle Grove, IA 50533.

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