Veterans park to have wounded vets memorial

Gloria Holzinger shows a conceptual drawing of the Purple Heart memorial drawn by her son, Rob Holzinger, to a committee meeting Monday, April 20. The group plans to raise $31,000 to pay for the monument, honoring those in Huntington County who shed their blood during combat.
Gloria Holzinger shows a conceptual drawing of the Purple Heart memorial drawn by her son, Rob Holzinger, to a committee meeting Monday, April 20. The group plans to raise $31,000 to pay for the monument, honoring those in Huntington County who shed their blood during combat. Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

When the ribbon is cut on Huntington’s new veterans’ park, one of its most prominent monuments will honor the county’s natives who were wounded in the course of combat.

Gloria Holzinger, of Huntington, is leading the charge to raise funds for the memorial, a red, white and blue stone monument that will be one of the highlights of the park.

A newly-formed committee met Monday, April 20, to look at plans for the monument and devise a way for the community to make tax-deductible donations to pay for the $31,000 project.

Holzinger says the monument is designed to honor all Purple Heart recipients who shed their blood — those who died as well as those who were injured in combat. She had initially proposed placing a memorial on the Huntington County Courthouse lawn, then learned that a new veterans’ park will be constructed where the Memorial Park tennis courts are now located.

“I had thought about this for some time,” she says. “This is something that I really think we need; it will be an asset to our veterans’ park as well.”
Holzinger says the design was initially conceived by her son Rob Holzinger, a veteran of four tours in Iraq.

“Rob is an artist,” she explains. “I said, ‘This is what I want to do. This is what I’m thinking about. Would you, being a Purple Heart recipient, dig deep down into your soul and come up with something for all of these Purple Heart recipients?’ And that is how it all came about.”

Gloria Holzinger then met with Brian Love of Bailey-Love Monuments to tweak the design and plan the materials that will be used.

The top of the monument will be a black granite obelisk shape, with an etched American flag draped across the top and embossed with a Purple Heart emblem. The base of the obelisk will be red India granite and white marble.

The base of the monument will be blue pearl granite in the shape of a boulder, emblazoned with four medallions representing each branch of the military. A red stripe down the boulder represents the blood shed in combat. The overall height of the monument will tower to around eight feet.

Huntington Mayor Brooks Fetters says the Purple Heart memorial will be a jewel in the new veterans’ park, which will also include three plaques, a military plane, tank and flags of the various military divisions.

“It’s the people’s veterans’ monument,” he said, “and we want them to take ownership and have a lot of pride in it.”

Groundbreaking for the veterans’ park is expected sometime in May and a dedication ceremony is planned as part of the Veterans Day observance in November.

The monument committee is comprised of Holzinger, Love, Bruce Stanton, Chris Newton, Danielle Clements, Juanita Hedrick, Larry Jenks, Leslie Ackermann, Michael Howell, Perry Collins, Pete Eshelman, Steve Kimmel and Terry Stoffel. They will spearhead fund-raising efforts to get the monument ordered and installed in time for Veterans Day.

Donors can send checks made out to The Veterans County Recognition Fund in care of the Huntington County Veterans Service Office, 354 N. Jefferson St., Room 102, Huntington, IN 46750. Those who wish a receipt for tax purposes should submit a request with their donation.

“We want the community feeling that they’ve helped with this thing,” said Eshelman.