Park dedicated to vets

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By Teresa Herriman

The Courier-Herald

Colorful bursts of fall foliage weave around a plaque that reads:

"Dedicated to the men and women of South Prairie who served their country in war and peace, and in reverent memory of those who gave their lives 'for your tomorrows, we gave our todays.'"

The South Prairie Veterans Memorial at the South Prairie Fire Department and Community Center honoring the dead and the living was dedicated in a service Friday.

The project began as a promise by Karen Leming to Kris Atherton, a South Prairie native and U.S. Army tank driver who lost his left arm during a battle in Iraq last year. During a celebration honoring the returning vet nearly a year ago, Leming offered to help found a memorial.

Led by Leming, the South Prairie Cares Committee raised the money to build the memorial and sold bricks for $35 apiece.

Leming's own commitment to the project is written in stone. Several bricks trace the history of her family's tradition of service. A brick for Col. Paul Leming Jr. notes his service as a United States Air Force fighter pilot. Another brick commemorates Paul J. Leming III's membership in the Air Force. A third brick notes Pfc. Leming's current duty.

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