JENSINGSBURG — On Friday night, residents of Jenningsburg celebrated the opening of the Liberty Square project and the inauguration of the Purple Heart, a memorial dedicated to war-wounded veterans, 15-year-old Braden S. The result of the hard work of Braden Knippen.
The memorial was the capstone project of his application to become an Eagle Scout.
Located near the 10-foot flagpole where the 35-foot flag hangs, the flag and the Purple Heart Memorial are illuminated throughout the night. The 5-foot-2 monument in Liberty Square is made of smooth, polished black granite. The base sits on the poured concrete slab and measures 3’4″ from left to right, 1’4″ thick and 8″ high. The front of the base contains medals from all branches of the military with the words “For Our Veterans” written in gold hand-engraved lettering. On the back is the symbol of the year of dedication, which is the Eagle Scout Program by Braden Knippen.
The erected monument measures from left to right two feet six inches long, eight inches thick and four feet six inches high. An etched red, white and blue tricolor flag hangs at the top of the monument so that the flag hangs above and to the right of the words “Combat Wounded Veterans”, with a large purple heart in the center of the front facing the monument. street. Inscribed on the back is a purple heart: “My words are red because they bleed. The metal I carry is my country’s way of expressing concern. If I can be seen by all of humanity, maybe in my lifetime I will. Safety.”
Founded by George Washington in 1782 to reward soldiers for “extraordinary valor, extraordinary loyalty, and essential service,” the Purple Heart was reintroduced in the 20th century to honor those who were wounded or killed in action during military operations people.
According to Knipen’s father, Joe, generations of their family have served in the military.
“I’m very proud of him. He worked very hard to organize and fundraise for the entire project and played an active leadership role in ensuring the project was completed,” he said. “They installed it on Wednesday morning,” Liberty Square chairman Larry Street said. “When I walked up to it, tears came down. It was so impressive. When I cried, my tears were in memory of and for the work that Braden did. He was just Jenningsburg kids The perfect example. They took on a project and they did it right.”
Visiting Liberty Square and viewing the monument are Rep. Jim Hopps (R-Napoleon) and Roy Klopfenstein, the 81st District in this November’s election following Ohio’s redistricting Republican candidate.
“Jim Hopps, our state representative was a big part of our getting a lot of money from the state to build Liberty Square,” Street, where the Purple Heart Memorial is located, said.
On Friday, Liberty Square was a $300,000 project to build a memorial to veterans located near the Memorial Hall in the city center. With help from Rep. Hoops, Ohio’s Capital Improvement Fund provided $175,000 in funding for Freedom Square. $65,000 from donations. Another $130,000 was raised locally, as well as $100,000 from individual anonymous donors.
To raise money for the project, Knippen held up a sketch of a design he and members of Delphos Granite came up with by Columbus-based artist Amy Brukotter. The funds were transferred to the Liberty Square Purple Heart Monument Fund, which is part of the Liberty Square account. Knippen wrote a speech he addressed to all parishioners at his church after a weekend of mass.
“I have known Brayden for over 10 years. He is the kind of kid any parent would aspire to because of his ambition for good. Brayden is creative, intelligent and has no problem speaking in public. He has a fantastic demeanor , attracted the love of all. He is the pride of Jenningsburg,” said Father Charles Obingwa, pastor of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Jenningsburg.
The fundraiser started after last year’s Fort Fest and will be completed in November 2021.
“He came to me with an idea, and I just added something that I thought looked great,” said Joann Gerdeman, an independent dealer for Delphos Granite Works. For example, she suggested that the monument be taller to discourage children from climbing, and he suggested adding medallions to all branches of the military, adding color. “By adding color, it just makes it look more dramatic. It’s beautiful. It’s also one of the tallest monuments I’ve worked with.”
Brandon Groves, who did the diamond etching by hand, was able to complete the project in time for the planned dedication ceremony. “The kids who do the Eagle Scout project have something. They just learn more about the needs of the community and what it means to be a good person in the community,” Goldman said. “Bradon was very, very impressed. He was very aware of the importance of completing this monument this weekend. He took his role very seriously. When it was all over, I wrote him a letter, Tell him what an amazing person and student he is and is a great asset to the community. I also told his parents that they did a great job raising this kid. As he got older, I saw him go Some places. He’s driven. He’s just a super kid.”
Only 4 percent of Scouts go on to earn Eagle Scout elite status, said Matt Calvelage, Scout leader at Knippen. “Braden started Cub Scouts when he was in first grade and didn’t finish the Eagle Scout program until today,” Calvelage said. The next step for Knippen to become Eagle Scout was for the two of them to fill out an application form and send it to the National Scout Office, then conduct an interview and be evaluated by a review board. After that, it takes about a month or two to become an Eagle Scout.
Knippen said he chose the term “freedom is never free” because during Fort Fest, he said he heard it a lot, and both veterans and today’s soldiers are constantly fighting for our freedom.
Call Shannon Bohle at 567-242-0399, email at [email protected] Or on Twitter @Bohle_LimaNews.