As the All Veterans Memorial falls further into disrepair, Osage officials turn to community for help
Oct 06, 2020 10:07AM
By Savannah Howe
Five and a half decades of unforgiving winds, harsh sun and bitter Iowa snow are starting to wear on the All Veterans Memorial in the Osage Cemetery.
The memorial may seem to be in good health from afar, but closer inspection quickly reveals a structure in need of repair.
At Monday’s regular assembly of the Osage City Council, officials pondered how to fund some much-needed repairs to the memorial, which displays a pair of clasped hands, along with the Lord’s Prayer in scrawling script. The memorial, located in the northern portion of the cemetery, is the centerpiece of Memorial Day ceremonies every year, along with the cemetery’s trademark canons, but the brick foundation of the statue that has held steadfast since 1964 has began to crumble.
Ross Grafft, Osage City Council member, told Enterprise Journal that something must be done for the memorial, or it will ultimately come down.
Grafft said that, for many Osagians of this day and age, the history of the memorial is largely unknown. According to a November 1964 Mitchell County Press-News article, the memorial had costed roughly $2,430 at the time of installation, but upkeep to the statue has been slim to none since then.
Grafft said that Dave Randall, an independent contractor specializing in stone work, appraised the memorial, and determined that a lot of its preexisting stone can be taken off and reused—but, all in all, the work must be extensive for the memorial to stand the next 55 years, and pricy, too: at a minimum, the city has been quoted roughly $7,500 for the cost of removing, cleaning and re-grouting the stones.
As the grout continues to disintegrate and the foundation fragments, the city of Osage is calling for community aid in giving the memorial the TLC it needs.
“The VFW and the American Legion will be involved, and the city is involved too, but this is fairly expensive,” said Grafft. “We were hoping there’d be people who would want to donate to help get it repaired. [The memorial] is past being in need of repair.”
Residents with questions about the memorial’s repairs or donating to the cause should contact Osage City Hall.
In other Osage council news, officials moved forward a resolution to request reimbursement from the state of Iowa for COVID-19 expenses. The reimbursement will come from funds allotted to county and city governments by Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds from the CARES Act. Osage City Clerk Cathy Penney said that Osage’s alloted amount from the state was $84,490 maximum, and that the city’s official reimbursement request will be “close to that amount.”
Councilwoman Judy Voaklander, with the city’s utility committee, reported that the transition from Holt Sanitation to Redcan Sanitation has been going well, and that Holt stickers can still be exchanged for Redcan stickers at City Hall through the end of October.