By Kate Vogel
Mason Times staff writer
A set of eight veteran memorial woodcarvings is being planned for construction near the steps of Mason City Hall. Bob Raab, the former Post Commander of the Mason American Legion Browne-Cavender Post 148 and Vietnam veteran, presented the proposal of a veteran’s memorial woodcarving during the Mason City Council meeting on Oct. 3. The woodcarvings will be modeled after both men and women veteran’s who served during World War I though current conflicts.
Retired Colonel Dr. Terry Fobbs, Post Commander of Post 148 said, “Mason is a historic community. We are looking at a city that was incorporated right after the Civil War. Because we don’t have a draft and we have a large volunteer armed force, it’s important to remember the sacrifices of those who have served … as well as the families.”
Mason American Legion has established other projects in Mason including the county monument on the Ingham County Courthouse lawn that honors servicemen and women who lost their lives in World War I, World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam. Fobbs, an Operation Desert Storm veteran said that the idea behind this new monument is to additionally honor those who lost their lives in conflicts after Vietnam.
Raab said that the monuments, “would be conducive to the city of Mason, to the new City Hall, and it was something that the community should have. We have a veteran’s memorial but that’s a county memorial and there is no city memorial. Most towns, especially county seats, have a veteran memorial so I thought it would be a good idea to have one here in town.”
Last December, Post 148 hosted a consignment fundraiser to raise money for the project and generated close to $10,000 for the project. Raab stated the total cost to complete the project is approximately $20,000.
“Right now we have approximately 50 percent of what we need,” Raab said. “The consignment auction was the first phase of raising funds.” The project is now in its second phase of funding.
Mason American Legion has communicated with Don Heck, a Mason city engineer, about designing the monument and contacted James Madsen, a woodcarver from Pottersville, Mich., to construct the monument. Madsen is responsible for most of the woodcarvings exhibited in Mason, Baab said.
The woodcarvings will be made of walnut or a different type of hardwood, Baab said, and the monuments will be life-size.
“This project belongs here,” Raab said. “This building (Mason City Hall) is a diamond in this town. It’s something to draw attention to progressive forward thinking… and there are more veterans in the Mason area than in the veterans legion.”
Councilmember Robin Naeyaert said during the Oct. 1 Mason City Counsel meeting, “I think it would dramatically enhance what we have (at City Hall). There is no doubt in my mind that it would enhance the community.”
Raab said that the proposed veteran woodcarving monuments would make the city of Mason “very happy that all of the conflicts were recognized and that we hadn’t forgotten any group of people that have made this county what it is and allow us the freedoms that we have.”
Mason American Legion is still in the process of funding the monument, but Raab said that he foresees the project being completed within two to three years.
Located below are several depictions of the proposed woodcarvings, ranging from the Civil War to present day.