SARCOXIE, Mo. — Construction is to begin this week on the Sarcoxie Veterans Memorial. It is the next step in a grassroots campaign to renovate and expand the 21-year-old structure.

Eight black monoliths will be encompassed by flagpoles displaying the U.S. flag, the a POW/MIA flag, and flags from the five branches of the military.

Michelle Gautz, who chairs the town's history organization, said markers have been set up and dirt will be moved by midweek, weather permitting. The current structure is on the southwest corner of the square and was dedicated in September 1997.

“We’re waiting for the weather to let up for us, and if everything goes well, then we’ll actually start the construction part of the monoliths,” Gautz said. “I can hardly wait to see it. Personally, I’m just really excited and delighted how people have offered to help in various ways.”

Thus far, the committee organizing the effort has collected nearly 150 names of area veterans and service members to be engraved on plaques for the monoliths.

“Currently, we have seven plaques almost full with the names,” Gautz said. “We’re hoping to have a plaque on each monolith when we dedicate. We know it’s going to look really special, and our goal was to honor the many men and women in the area of Sarcoxie who have served, and in many cases some didn’t make it home. I know the town will be well represented by the names on the walls.”

Residents have been holding fundraisers to aid in the endeavor. The group recently received one of its largest donations, $2,000 from MFA Oil, and several community organizations also have pledged funds.

“The mayor has and is providing financial support and the Public Works crew will be assisting with the construction,” Gautz said. “Cole Cummins, veteran member, and Jeremy Lawyer, public works superintendent for the city, are working closely with construction plans and implementation.”

The estimated cost of the project is $30,000. Gautz said the final cost may change, depending on construction but that enough funds have been secured for the work.

“Instead of all concrete in the area, the committee has decided to go with pavers,” she said. “They are more expensive, but we thought since it was on the historic square, it would look nicer. Our budget started out much lower ($22,000), but now we’re running right around $30,000, but that’s with designated funds for the names and memorial itself.”

The original goal was to have the memorial completed by Memorial Day, but weather stalled the work. Gautz said the committee is discussing plans for a dedication during Chief Sarcoxie Days in mid-September or by Veterans Day, Nov. 11.

“Everything is pending ... on that still, and they’ll discuss that during the next meeting,” she said.

Sarcoxie veterans will meet at 10 a.m. Wednesday, June 26, in the Sarcoxie Senior Center, 519 Cross St., to discuss the memorial.

Want to help?

Donations for the Sarcoxie Veterans Memorial are still being collected to help with any additional costs and to maintain it. Names can be added to a 24-by 24-inch plaque for $80. Each plaque will display 22 names. In order to place a name on the monument, the committee will need a copy of a DD214 form or other proof indicating an honorable discharge. Any questions concerning donations or name placement can be directed to Michelle Gautz, 417-548-2577 or history@sarcoxiemo.com.

News reporter

Kimberly Barker is a news reporter for The Globe who covers Northeast Oklahoma, Southeast Kansas, as well as Carl Junction and Webb City.

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