Our Town Fairbury: Veterans Memorial

Pure Nebraska
Published: May. 25, 2023 at 10:57 AM CDT|Updated: May. 25, 2023 at 11:22 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

FAIRBURY, Neb. (KOLN) - The community of Fairbury is getting excited for the formal dedication of a memorial that honors all veterans in Jefferson County.

We caught up with Mick Suey to talk about the project. Suey is the person who is leading the effort to get the memorial built. “The idea came about a few years ago,” Suey said. “I was taking my son to some American Legion baseball games. I would drive around the towns, and I noticed many of them had veterans memorials. We didn’t really have anything like that in Fairbury. So, I took it upon myself to start planning, and to come up with the idea.”

Of course, many volunteers and businesses are involved in the project. “My friend Thom Hunt is the artist and designer of the memorial,” Suey said. “(Thom and I) sat together and bounced ideas off each other on how it would look. The idea behind it is, we wanted to find one of the first veterans of Jefferson County. I had a lot of help from another friend, Mitch Zabokrtsky, who is a local veteran and historian. He knew that Steele City, which is not too far away, had the first veterans. We talked some more people, and came up with the name Thomas Kelly. He was a member of the G.A.R. We are making a statute of him standing on top of a stone which is native to this area called quartzite. We have granite slants with all of the military branches represented. Another big feature will be the brick wall that has veterans names on it. We had the names engraved, some 400 of them, that are on the veterans’ side. We have a donor side as well.”

It turns out there is wide support for the construction of the veterans memorial. “The reaction was surprising,” Suey said. “The actual timeline to get this built was 2024. We thought we’d have to take longer to raise the money, but it just started pouring in. We are a year ahead of where we thought we would be. The overall community, Jefferson County, the veterans, businesses, they’ve all been on board.”

While 400 names will be featured on the wall now, more veterans will be able to add their names in the future. “After July 4 and before Veterans Day on November 11, we will take orders,” Suey said. “The plan is, every year on Memorial Day, we will unveil new names. If we have to build another wall because we have so many names, that would be amazing.”

The community of Fairbury will gather at 1 p.m. on Monday, May 29 to officially dedicate the Jefferson County Veterans Memorial.