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Gary-New Duluth veterans memorial restored, expanded

Memorial Day events this year include the rededication of an expanded and renovated Gary-New Duluth memorial at 9 a.m. Monday. The Gary-New Duluth community dedicated the original monument 60 years ago to honor its residents who answered their na...

Memorial
Miller Creek Lawn and Landscape employees Carl Maiers (left) and Ashton Gronholz work on laying pavers at the expanded and renovated Gary-New Duluth veterans memorial on Tuesday. The memorial will be rededicated at 9 a.m. Monday. (Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com)
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Memorial Day events this year include the rededication of an expanded and renovated Gary-New Duluth memorial at 9 a.m. Monday.

The Gary-New Duluth community dedicated the original monument 60 years ago to honor its residents who answered their nation's call during World War II and the Korean War. A partial list of Vietnam veterans was later added.

That monument remains, its metal plaques recently removed, cleaned and reinstalled. The expanded memorial includes a second four-sided monument that will bear the names of the veterans of later conflicts as well as Vietnam War veterans missed earlier.

Other new features at the expanded memorial include a plaque honoring World War II Medal of Honor recipient Mike Colalillo, benches, landscaping, lighting and a new flag pole.

The $30,000 project was helped by volunteer labor and donated goods and services.

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"It's been a wonderful collaboration," said Mark Boben. "People have really responded to this. It's been gratifying."

The idea for an expanded memorial was born after Boben and Gary Bubalo -- both 1972 Morgan Park High School graduates -- talked about what they could do to help the community. Their thoughts turned to the veterans monument. The pair talked to the Gary-New Duluth community club about restoring the monument, and the idea grew into building a second monument recognizing veterans from the neighborhoods of Gary, New Duluth, Riverside, Smithville, Morgan Park, Fond du Lac and Oliver who served in the Vietnam, Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

The group is still collecting names via its Facebook page ( www.facebook.com/gndveteransmemorial ) for granite plaques that will be engraved this fall and added to the new monument.

On Tuesday, Miller Creek Lawn and Landscape employees were busy laying pavers around the new monument. On Saturday, a number of volunteers helped work on the memorial, Miller Creek owner Troy Grohsman said.

"It was a great project that brought the community together," he said. "It was fun to help design and install the project with the volunteers. It's fun to be a little part of history."

Mike Colalillo plaque
A plaque honoring World War II Medal of Honor recipient Mike Colalillo is one of the additions to the Gary-New Duluth veterans memorial. Another addition is a monument, similar to the original one on the site, bearing the names of servicemen and women from later conflicts. (Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com)

Steve Kuchera has worked in daily newspapers since 1989 and at the Duluth News Tribune since 1993. He has a master of arts degree in visual communications from the University of Minnesota School of Journalism. You can reach him at skuchera@duluthnews.com.
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