Two Clark County men who served in Vietnam have teamed up to raise money to build a granite monument listing Clark County veterans who died in the war. David Bauer and Randy Ark's project has received overwhelming support from the community and is near completion.
Bauer came up with the idea of creating a memorial to honor those who died in Vietnam and drew a sketch on a piece of paper of what it should look like. Then he and Ark took the rendering to Josh Walters of Dodds Monuments in Springfield. Walters liked what he saw.
"The design involved using the image or the shape of a dog tag and then listing the names of the fallen soldiers on the dog tag," Walters said. " So, they wanted it to be quite large and memorable."
The monument will stand more than five feet tall and seven feet wide. Walters indicated that there is another eye-catching feature to it.
"The base that this sits on is about eight feel long and it also will have a life size statue of what's called the Soldier's Cross," he explained. " It's the symbol of the fallen soldier in war."
Bauer and Ark also received help from the Spradlin Bros. Welding Company of Springfield, and city officials helped find 63 names of fallen soldiers to go on the memorial. Ark says the project is helping the community pay tribute to veterans.
"I feel like we are doing the right thing for the right reasons, especially since Dave and I are both Vietnam veterans," he said. " It's particularly pleasing to us that we've had the response that we've had."
Bauer and Ark started working on the project late last year and have raised more than $22,000 for it, which exceeded the estimated $20,000 needed for completion.
The grand opening for the Dog Tag Memorial is scheduled for mid-September in Veteran's Park.