Clear Lake All Veterans’ Memorial’s Platinum Anniversary
May 31, 1999 – May 31, 2019
“Town pays homage to those who served” were the words chosen to describe Clear Lake, Wisconsin’s effort to build its Veterans Memorial in a featured article of May 10th, 1998. The St Paul Sunday Pioneer Press featured the beginning construction of the Clear Lake Veterans’ Memorial.
Community Vision & Team Work Come Together
Clear Lake area citizens can be proud that the Clear Lake community, at large, saw the need to honor its veterans. The entire success of this non-tax funded endeavor may be attributed to all of the Clear Lake and citizens from all over the United States of America. It must be emphasized the Clear Lake Veterans’ Memorial could not have been built without the support all veterans and non-veterans together! They worked as a team to successfully complete the project.
Decision to Proceed
On Memorial Day, May 29th, 1997 an ad hoc committee of over 40 people assembled at the Clear Lake VFW Hall to decide if a Veterans’ Memorial should be built. A unanimous decision by those present decided to build, proceed with that project, elect officers and form committees.
Establish a Board & Committes
Officers chosen were Walt Hammer-Treasurer, Ellen Martin/William Cahow-Secretaries, Marshall Winegar-Vice President and Douglas Cahow–President. Soon after that meeting, several committees were formed and they continued to meet on weekly or bi-weekly dates throughout the next year. Their primary obligations were to raise money, select a site and build the memorial ASAP.
Fund Raising Begins
The first official fund raiser was a donkey basketball game on 12/27/1997 at the Clear Lake Elementary School. It was an evening of hilarity and humility. It was often heard by many onlookers as to who the real donkeys were: was it the human participants or the real donkeys. That event set the tempo for community togetherness and was followed by many other fund raisers including an enormous dance/steak dinner, sale of a Green Bay Packer endorsed football, lottery for a full sized wishing well, many brat sales and especially many generous private donations.
The real high light of our fund raising was a colored thermometer sign made by Robert (B0B) Hammer. When completed it was posted at the intersection of the 4 stop signs in down town Clear Lake with a goal of $40,000.00. Many people thought that goal was unattainable; but the reaction from Clear Lake community, as funds poured in, was immediate. People could see results of fund raising right before their eyes and the Clear Lake community was overwhelmed by the sight of a glowing red thermometer bulb changing every few days.
As 1997/98 progressed the goal of $40,000.00 was reached and surpassed by the selling of six (6) and twelve (12) inch polished granite Heritage Paving Commemorative Talismans. With each purchase of a Heritage Paver, Veterans and non-veterans alike were made to feel that they were sharing in the construction of an endeavor very few communities of a thousand or more times larger than Clear Lake happen before their very eyes.
To this very day, people marvel at the depth of cooperation and gifting that happened in a small community who made history happen!