News: Highground -- Neillsville (9 April 2005)

Transcriber: Crystal Wendt

----Sources: Marshfield News Herald (Marshfield, Wood County, Wis.) Sat, Apr 9, 2005

Highground Park to add four veterans memorials

By Matt Ollwerther -- Marshfield News-Herald

NEILLSVILLE - Just as spring brings change to the land, The Highground Veterans Memorial Park honors veterans of war by expanding the number of its memorials. Four memorials now are in different phases of planning. They include:

Meditation garden -- The ongoing project for the summer will be the addition of the park's new mediation garden. The shelter on the southwest portion of the park will have four rooms divided by an arbor, a fountain with life-size figures named "Fallen Tears" and a secluded prayer stone. "The prayer stone is four feet wide and it'll be granite. On the sides of the prayer stone we hope to have the "pray, heal, kneel,'" Rodman said.

Highground organizers also are hoping for statuary in the garden's fountain. A soldier looking down toward a set of fallen soldier's dogtags will fall in line with a grieving woman and child representing the family of those killed while serving. The water will flow down a set of metal teardrops.

"It's going to be very moving," Rodman said.

Leona Fischer of Spencer and her two sisters gather together every two years and hold a silent auction. The money from the auction goes toward a charitable cause and this year they picked The Highground. The concept of military service is close to her family's heart.

"I've got four boys that were in the service and two brothers," she said, most of whom have legacy stones set in the walkway at the park.

Her reason for choosing the mediation garden was simple: "They were going to start one up and we decided to go with that." She said the trio of sisters has been donating for "quite a few years" and will continue as long as the family keeps getting together.

Treehouse....A handicapped-accessible treehouse encompassing a large green ash tree will be built April 28 to 30 at the annual Spring Volunteer Work Weekend, said Nancy Rodman, a Highground volunteer. The footings for the treehouse will be poured soon to pave the way for construction. Volunteers are needed and are asked to register by calling The Highground so an accurate number of lunches may be provided. A Neillsville couple donated the cost of the materials for the project. World War II-era tours ....The veterans memorial park is offering reality tours this summer for larger groups on the third Tuesday of each month. Groups will be greeted by a staff member, who will be dressed in a uniform and driving a Jeep, both authentic from the World War II era.

After being ordered to a tent, participants will be briefed on an air raid set in England The move should increase the number headed into the park, Rodman said.

"This summer we decided to increase tourism ... and encourage more bus groups to come to The Highground," she said.

Korean Tribute --- After announcing the final design for the Korean War Tribute in February, the next challenge for the project is raising the money. The total cost for the tribute is expected to be about $170,000 and is scheduled to be dedicated by the summer of 2006.

A fountain will be part of the central figure, while the entire tribute rests within a circle defined by the ying-yang symbol. The design, by Michael Martino of La Crosse, was one of 11 submitted. The project will lie to the west of the National Native American Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

The Highground is a 140-acre veterans memorial park that became a nonprofit organization in 1984. Donations may be sent directly to the site or be made online at its Web site,

Matt Ollwerther can be reached at 384-3131, at 800-967-2087, ext. 358, or at



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