When Wayne Shoultz helped found the Fruitland Community Lions Club (FCLC) in June of 2015, he had a dream that the club would do something to honor veterans. Over time, his ideas for how to celebrate those who served coalesced into plans for an all veterans memorial. Maggie Curry, a member of the FCLC, elaborated, “Wayne is a veteran and has always been supportive of the needs of veterans.” As he shared his thoughts, the plan began to grow. More and more club members became interested in the idea and wanted to move forward.”
From these seeds, the group began laying their plans for the memorial. They decided they wanted their memorial to stand out by featuring the names and service information of those honored. Additionally, they agreed that anyone interested in having any veteran’s name added could do so. They had a vision that their memorial would honor veterans from all places, not just Fruitland, and that the monument would include both living and deceased veterans.
The FCLC then partnered with Barb Noble’s art students at Louisa-Muscatine Junior-Senior High School to gather design ideas for the project. In the end, the FCLC decided on a granite wall bearing the symbols of each branch of the armed forces and space for 400 veterans’ names. The memorial will also have several matching benches around it to allow people to stay and reflect on the monument.
With a design in mind, the FCLC spoke with the Fruitland City Council and got permission to build the memorial on public lands. With the groundwork in place, the FCLC set to work raising the $45,000 they will need to make their monument a reality. The FCLC hopes to bring in this money through a combination of corporate donations, public fundraisers, and through the donations made to add a veteran’s name to the wall. To responsibly manage all the donations the project will receive, the FCLC has established a fund with the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine.
Though the FCLC does not have a date set for when they will build the memorial, they hope to do so as soon as possible, once they have the funding they need. To that end, the group highly encourages anyone interested in having a loved one’s name added to the memorial to get in touch with the FCLC now. “We encourage families to honor their loved ones by adding their Veterans’ names to the black granite walls – their names will remain there for many years to come. With room for 400 names on the wall, we hope to make the city of Fruitland a destination that families will want to visit!” said FCLC member Janina Hawley. For more information, visit www.discovermuscatine.com to view their brochure or call (563) 260-7952.