Ground breaks on Gold Star Family Memorial in Mantorville – KTTC

MANTORVILLE, Minn. (KTTC) — Ground broke Saturday on a new memorial meant to honor fallen service members along with the families they left behind.

Scott and Monica Eggert were on a trip in Nevada in 2019 when they came across a Gold Star Family memorial monument.

They were with their friends Dave and Kay Swenson who are Gold Star parents. Their son, Unite States Marine Corporal Curtis Swenson was killed in Afghanistan in 2010.

“When we saw the memorial and the effect it had on the families that were visiting it, we thought, yeah, we have to have one of these in Minnesota,” Scott said.

The Swensons and the Eggerts teamed up and started the effort to make a Gold Star memorial in Minnesota. The Hershel Woody Williams Medal of Honor Foundation has been helping them get the project off the ground.

“This is to honor the Gold Star families in Minnesota,” Scott said. “This is the very first one, and it’s really exciting to honor those who pay the ultimate sacrifice for you and I. This is a small gesture to say we promise to never forget, and having this monument here will do that.”

The Swensons started their own foundation a few years ago to honor their son’s memory. Its goal is to raise scholarship money and help military families with various needs.

Kay said her son always knew he was going to join the military.

“He was 12 when 9/11 happened. He loved his country,” Kay said. “He was funny and witty. He loved his friends and family. I think one of the big things Gold Star families fear is that their loved one is going to be forgotten. I think this says loud and clear that we will not forget.”

The Swensons said the grief is always there and that some days are better than others.

“Talking about them helps,” Dave said. “We still have our ups and downs. This weekend is a big weekend. Birthdays and anniversaries keep coming and it’s hard, but we have a lot of support.”

The monument will stand next to the Dodge County Government Center. It will be 15 feet wide and stand seven feet tall. It will have three benches in a circle representing Purple Heart veterans, POW/MIA veterans and Gold Star families.

The monument will be revealed on Sept. 26, which Gold Star Mother’s Day. The project still needs $20,000 in order to be completed.

To find out more, visit the Minnesota Gold Star Families Memorial Monument website.