COMSTOCK – “Most anyone who’s been to the service believes in God and country,” said Casey Doggett Comstock, Sons of the American Legion (SAL) Squadron 220 Commander. “Only two people offered to give their lives for us and they were the Lord Jesus Christ and the American Veteran.”
The steeple, once found in Anselmo, awaits installation at the corner of Custer and Main Streets in Comstock. Butch Beaumont, of Beaumont-Ries Construction, broke ground for the memorial Thursday, July 1, and Doggett anticipates putting the steeple at the west end of the property within the next few weeks.
The property, that once housed a hotel, was donated to Sons of the American Legion Squadron 220 by its former owner Bill Granger. Once completed the memorial, that consists of two, ten-by-six-foot walls, able to encase 400 bricks, complete with the insignia of an honorably discharged veteran.
“If they served our nation, they can be on our wall,” Doggett said. “We’ve already sold 100 and anticipate getting those bricks installed on the wall before Veteran’s Day.”
The wall was financed by generous donations from people like U.S. Army Veteran John T. McGilberry. McGilberry is a Shotgun Instructor at Auburn University, who resides in Sylacauga, Alabama. He visits Comstock each year with the Alabama Hunters, and provides the firearms raffled off, during Comstock’s Fourth of July Celebration.
“So many people have contributed,” Doggett said. “John is what I would refer to as the backbone of this whole deal.”
The idea behind Comstock’s Veteran’s Memorial Wall arose while cleaning rifles and making other preparations for the Memorial Day Services. Instead of discussing the nearly 150 flags in Comstock’s Community Building, post members decided to act. After they visited Veteran Memorial Walls found in North Loup, Arcadia, Taylor, Sargent, Anselmo, Palmer and Grand Island they decided on a design of their own.
“We all agreed we needed another way to honor these men,” Doggett added.
Once purchased, bricks are printed by Palmer Monument Company, of Broken Bow. The company was chosen because of its proximity and having had successfully completed work on other memorial walls in surrounding communities. Thursday’s pleasant weather provided Beaumont, and his crew of three men, with an optimal opportunity to pour concrete while Andy Gibbons, of Gibbons Electric in Ansley, installed electrical lines.
“Everyone has been great, backing us up on this,” Doggett said. “We’ve had an awesome response from the community.”
Those interested in learning more about Comstock’s Veteran’s Memorial Wall are encouraged to contact Sons of the American Legion members:
Casey Doggett (308) 870-3312 or 409 Curran Ave. Berwyn, Ne. 68814;
Perry Erikson (308) 215-0232 or 80871 Oak Grove Rd. Comstock, Ne. 68828;
Rod Kamarad (308) 215-0748 or 46281 Comstock Rd. Comstock, Ne. 68828;
Rod Stefka (308) 760-1153 or P.O. Box 254, Sargent, Ne. 68874.