History of the Memorial
A Memorial Should Be Forever
In the late 1980's, a group of Wisconsin Korean War Veterans decided it was time to remember the 801 men and women from Wisconsin who fought and paid the Supreme Sacrifice during what was then referred to as
America's Forgotten War and to honor others from the Badger State
who dared to die - but lived.
Korean War Veterans Memorial Association of Wisconsin
A not-for-profit corporation was soon formed, known as the Korean War Veterans Memorial Association of Wisconsin, Inc. (KWVMAW). The association consisted of Officers and a Board of Directors. Planning and major fundraising then began. In 1990, the Village of Plover made an offer the Board could hardly refuse. The Village Fathers donated a 2.5 acre island situated in Lake Pacawa, which was surrounded by a beautiful municipal park. There was an outpouring of enthusiasm from the citizens of Portage County from the beginning and still continues to this day with Memorial Tile purchases and donations for maintenance and perpetual care.
A sand berm connected the north shoreline to the island memorial site and a groundbreaking ceremony was held in 1993. Steel and concrete overlay followed and an initial dedication was held the next year, just months before the death of founder Chauncey Dunday. The Wisconsin Legislature gave the project $300,000 in matching funds. In 1997, when the $600,000 had been raised and full-sized bronze statuary, flagpoles and 75,000 pound granite wall had been erected, a second dedication was held.
Each year, an annual Homecoming program is held at the memorial island. Greater Plover VFW Post 10262 has provided a unique Honor Guard and Firing Party, which participates at all ceremonies amongst other important community figures.
Around 2004, there was a period of drought which drew down the lake and seriously deteriorated the concrete Causeway. The Board had civil engineers assess the problem and voted to make permanent repairs using a new product called Armorflex. The Legislature appropriated $165,000 in matching funds; the Village of Plover gave $30,000, with veteran's groups and other foundations also contributing to the repairs. Work began in early autumn of 2008 and the project was completed by the time snow fell in December. A dedication was held in June 2009.
Most Korean War Veterans are now in their late 70's, 80's, and 90's. Who will maintain the magnificent memorial after they are gone you ask?
In late 2009, the Village of Plover offered to take over the Memorial, with the suggestion coming from Village Administrator Dan Mahoney, Village Trustees, and the KWVMAW Board of Directors. The KWVMAW then disbanded, leaving no indebtedness.
The mutual agreement provides that ownership and maintenance of the complex now rests with the Village of Plover, although its name will forever be called the Wisconsin Korean War Veterans Memorial at Plover. Funding for the maintenance and care of the Memorial relies solely on private donations and Memorial Tile purchases.