Local veterans and dignitaries dedicated the Veteran Healing Memorial during a ceremony that began at 5:30 Tuesday evening, July 27.
The memorial is located on the grounds of the Jefferson County Community Center in Madras.
"The event went fantastic," said local veteran Shawn Stanfill, who headed up the project. "Perfect weather, and a big redtail hawk flew directly over it as it started. Biggest one I'd ever seen."
Since breaking ground, Stanfill has worked tirelessly to bring this dream to fruition. The memorial serves to support the mental health of veterans and their families. It includes a U.S. flag and flags of all branches of the military as well as benches and a fire pit.
Organizers wanted the ceremony to be on a patriotic day, so they chose July 27, the day the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed in 1953.
VFW Post 12141 Commander Leonard Hellwig led the dedication. Veterans spoke about a 9-11 flag that was presented to the post. The flag flew over Ground Zero in New York City and is placed in a memorial box for display at the Community Center.
VFW and American Legion Post 125 member Mike Williams performed a chant with a drum and then was presented a Pendleton blanket in appreciation for his service.
Stanfill spoke briefly about veterans who take their own lives and mentioned the number of POW and MIAs that are still out there, waiting to come home.
The formal dedication program concluded the ceremony.
The Rusty Swine crew, Daniel Gregg and Kina King, donated and prepared a hot dog and salad dinner afterwards.
The memorial will be open to the public for memorial services or family gatherings. To schedule an event at the site, contact Louise Muir at the Community Center.
Hellwig estimated around 70 people attended the ceremony.
"It was a nice crowd. I was happy to see that," he said.
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