New name for veterans park is right move to honor Moehnke

His idea blossomed into a place of honor

Terry Moehnke was inspired by something he saw at a Georgia Army base while visiting his soldier son.

It was an area filled with trees planted to honor the memory of troops killed in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere during the war on terror. At the base of each tree was a marker bearing the name of the fallen soldier.

Moehnke envisioned something like that for the Fort Dodge area that would honor all veterans. So in 2007 he went to work promoting his idea. That idea caught on quickly, and the first phase of Veterans Memorial Park was started in 2008.

However, Veterans Memorial Park is the old name for the site on the edge of Badger Lake. Its new, full name is Terry Moehnke Veterans Memorial Park.

The park was renamed during a ceremony on Saturday that took Moehnke by surprise. Ever humble, he said he would have stayed home if he knew what the event was about.

The renaming is a fitting tribute. Moehnke’s idea and his work to see it through have yielded a place of honor that is the site of the annual Memorial Day observances. It is an ampitheater overlooking Badger Lake that is filled with trees planted in memory of veterans throughout the Fort Dodge region. There are several sculptures and monuments in the park. The newest of those monuments honor Korean War veterans and those who received the Purple Heart because they were killed or wounded in action.

Moehnke would prefer that the park be known as a project of the Sertoma Club, of which he is a member. Yes, the Sertoma Club was heavily involved, with Moehnke leading the way.

Developing the park is just one way he has left his mark on the community. He has served as a member of the City Council since 2014, and started the Backpack Buddies program to provide qualifying school children with healthy food to eat over the weekends.

But the park has been such a major focus of his efforts that it was right and proper to name it after him.


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