Butterfield honors area veterans with memorial unveiling

Sean Ellertson
Honored veterans line up in front of the brand new Butterfield veterans memorial. Left to right: Bob Blom, Lyle
Blom, Dan Hill, Gary Wilson, Roger Braaten, Charles Bisel, Willie Krahn, Dewey Winters, Eldon Janzen, Harry Zea, and emcee Dennis Stade.

On Saturday, Butterfield area veterans were shown gratitude for their service, with the presentation of a new Butterfield veterans memorial.

Fundraising efforts were pioneered by the Butterfield veterans memorial fund committee, which raised over $70,000 since January of 2018.

The committee was formed to move the Butterfield memorial from the site of the former VFW Post 9607 in Butterfield.

"We were just going to move the plaque and then we got these people together and we decided it should be more than just moving and we started," said Butterfield veterans committee president June Witte. "I thought it looked endless to raise the money, but it has gone faster than I imagined." 

The memorial contains a large structure in the shape of the state of Minnesota, with a representation of the American Flag on the front. On one side, a list of eight servicemen who were killed in action is listed. Around the backside of the memorial are five pillars, containing 88 names in total, of veterans from the Butterfield area.

The project was designed by Jeremy Hall, with assistance from his brothers, Jeremy, Andrew, and Michael.

A number of veterans were on hand for the dedication of the memorial.

"I think it's awesome," said Vietnam veteran Gary Wolfson. "I can't believe the community was able to pull it off."

Committee member Dennis Stade gave emceed the memorial.

Stade gave anecdotes of veterans and those who lost their lives in action.

"This is made for all the people that served and are here today," said Stade. "You look at that and you say 'heroes walk amongst us."

"This is made for all of those people. Those that didn't return, those that have left us too soon, and those that are still among us. Their stories are important. I hope that you take the time to ask them because they have made a sacrifice, their families have made a sacrifice. With this, hopefully, we honor them in some way or another."

Veteran Lyle Blom also gave a short speech to the large crowd that had gathered.

"These American defenders left our schools, our shops, and our farms to take up weapons against the world."

The Butterfield veterans committee is still planning on doing various fundraisers to help with the upkeep of the memorial. More plaques with names of veterans are also expected to be added in the future.