At the age of 15, Dominique Classman from Olivia, Minnesota, presented his concept to erect a veterans monument in his city to the Olivia City Council. There were architect designs in his possession and a pre-determined location for his office.
He knew it would take a lot of money, but he was convinced that the residents in the neighborhood would be willing to chip in.
After two years of hard work, his dream came to fruition.
Dominque finished his Eagle Scout project only a few weeks before his 17th birthday and had it dedicated to soldiers in Olivia on Memorial Day.
When the young man gave his statement, he added, “The monument before you is a consequence of the kindness and support that I, and the veterans of our town, have received,”
Ron Kopacek, the honor guard commander, was most pleased by Dominique’s performance.
The idea that a 15-year-old high school sophomore might fund $12,000 or $15,000 is laughable. Really?'”
However, the determined adolescent said that he sometimes wonders how he even accomplished it.
When Dominique first began the initiative, she distributed pamphlets, spoke with the local media, and put up a booth at the Olivia American Legion to market it to members.
His original idea for what the monument would look like broadened when contributions and purchasing personalized pavers surpassed his expectations.
Although Dominique’s initial fundraising target was between $12,000 and $15,000, he ultimately raised well over $77,000.
When Dominique Jurgensen, a veteran scout whose father fought in Iraq, asked to wear his combat boots to leave 21 prints in the wet cement of the monument, he was granted his wish.
In the words of Dominique’s pleased father, this accomplishment was nothing out of the ordinary.
To avoid disappointing anybody, “he’s one of those kids that try to make sure they don’t have to be disappointed,” he added.
Some of Olivia’s friends and family members who served in the military never returned were honored during the dedication ceremony by having 280 pavers inscribed with their names.
There was a centre headstone with bronze sculptures and black granite seats, as well as the American flag and the POW flag fluttering above the treasured names.
Nicole’s son James died in Iraq on July 16, 2009, and his mother, Kim Wertish, praised him and embraced him warmly during the dedication.
Dan Drevnick and Carlos Wilcox, both Minnesota National Guard troops, were also slain in the attack, and their names are inscribed on the veterans memorial beside James’.
Because of his service in the military, James has been recognized in other locations. “But here is our hometown,” Kim said.
He traveled two hours to be there for the dedication of the pavers in honor of his father, Alfred Hebig, who served in Korea and is remembered on one of them by Mark Hebig today.
“He was murdered in a vehicle accident when I was only one year old, so I didn’t get to know him very well,” he added. Although it has been a long time, you never forget.
Scout district executive Aaron Russell described the veterans’ monument as “something extraordinary.”
“We wanted to know whether a project of this magnitude had been attempted in the recent past, given the amount of money collected. As far as we could tell, nothing came close,” he added.
“I’m an Eagle Scout myself, and I raised maybe $700, $800 for (his project) overall, and I thought that was challenging at the time,” he said, smiling. “It’s beyond my comprehension.”
Olivia’s Kubesh Park has a veterans monument at the 71 and 212 interchanges.
Dominique broke ground on the project in early May and then handed it over to the contracted contractors.
It’s Dominique’s goal that one day his two younger brothers will enlarge the monument for their own Eagle Scout projects.
Dominique, thank you so much for creating this wonderful tribute to our fallen soldiers.