‘A great honor’

Veterans Memorial Park rededicated in Moehnke's name

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert The family of Dr. Terry Moehnke, Fort Dodge City Councilman and community volunteer, attended a surprise rededication of the Veterans Memorial Park at Badger Lake on Saturday. The park will now be known as the Terry Moehnke Veterans Memorial Park.

Dr. Terry Moehnke works tirelessly to serve all areas of the Fort Dodge and Webster County communities.

He’s served as the Ward 1 representative on the Fort Dodge City Council since 2014. He started the Backpack Buddies program to ensure that local elementary school children have healthy food to eat over the weekends. He’s a member of the Pleasant Valley Awareness Committee and an advocate for public art. More than a decade ago, he led the effort to create the Veterans Memorial Park at Badger Lake, and he continues to put in work at the park every year.

But you’ll never hear him take credit for his efforts.

That’s why on Saturday, in front of friends and family and local veterans, Moehnke was surprised by Webster County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Campbell and Webster County Conservation Director Matt Cosgrove announcing at a barbecue for veterans and their families that Veterans Memorial Park will now be known as the Terry Moehnke Veterans Memorial Park.

“Terry brought an idea on a piece of paper to the Conservation Board back in about 2007,” Cosgrove said. “And if you know Terry at all, by 2008, we were working on the project. That little piece of paper continued to grow and continued to grow and the ideas got bigger.”

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
Dr. Terry Moehnke, Fort Dodge City Councilman, Noon Sertoma member and community volunteer, wipes away a tear after being suprised with the rededication of Veterans Memorial Park in his honor on Saturday.

The park — which features dozens of memorial trees planted in honor of local men and women who served in the armed forces, as well as a large amphitheater overlooking the lake and several war and Gold Star family memorials — wouldn’t exist without the efforts Moehnke has made and the support from the Fort Dodge Noon Sertoma club, Cosgrove said.

“They have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars here to put together this beautiful facility that you see as a tribute to our service members,” he said.

Saturday’s rededication was probably the biggest and best-kept secret in the county in recent weeks, and Moehnke even admitted that if he had known about Saturday’s announcement, he probably would have stayed home.

“I look at it as a great honor to be associated with the park,” Moehnke said. “I never wanted any credit.”

Moehnke, himself a U.S. Navy veteran, shared the vision he had for a veterans memorial in Webster County back in 2007.

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
Members of Fort Dodge Noon Sertoma attended a rededication of the Veterans Memorial Park to honor member Dr. Terry Moehnke on Saturday.

“I wanted a place for people to come and sit and enjoy, reflect and appreciate not only nature, but also the service that our veterans and their families put forward during their time in service,” he said.

Even after the rededication announcement, Moehnke still tried to hand the credit to others rather than himself.

“I try to stay under the radar as much as possible, because I don’t feel this is about me. This is for the veterans and their families,” he said. “It is humbling and it’s a great honor that they’d do this. I intentionally kept my name off of a lot of things out here, just simply because I didn’t want to draw attention to myself, because it is a project of the Sertoma Club and they deserve the recognition.”

A new sign, which will arch over the entrance to the park and read “Terry Moehnke Veterans Memorial Park,” will be installed in the coming months.

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
Webster County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Campbell, left, talks about the legacy Dr. Terry Moehnke, center, has made at Veterans Memorial Park. Moehnke, a Navy veteran himself, was the catalyst in creating the park at Badger Lake more than a decade ago. Webster County Conservation Director Matt Cosgrove, right, presented Moehnke with a rendering of the new park entrance sign, renaming the park to the Terry Moehnke Veterans Memorial Park on Saturday.


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