POMEROY, Iowa — The Pomeroy Veterans Memorial had not weathered well over the 16 years since it was constructed. The bricks with the names of area residents had crumbled and some names were not easy to read anymore.
Cindy Loots, who is now the mayor of Pomeroy, started a three-year process to replace the veterans memorial. First, she wanted to get more information about each soldier. She also wrote grants and was able to raise $50,000 to fund the project.
“I walked Union Cemetery nine times, and I walked at different seasons of the year,” said Loots, who worked to renew the monument. “If people put their military plaques on the ground they were covered by leaves, they were covered by grass in summer and they were covered by snow in the winter.”
Along the way, she collected over 700 names and stories of soldiers who served. One story was of a Vietnam veteran who lived in this area.
“His name is Kenneth Keys, he grew up in the Appalachian mountains because they hunted for all their food he started using a gun to hunt in the Appalachian mountains at eight years of age,” said Loots. “He was a really good marksman he got a Bronze Star, and a Purple Heart, he also got awards from the German Army in the French Army because he was such a good marksman.”
Not all of the soldiers honored here were born in the Pomeroy area.
“We have several military people who got this far on the railroad and ended up meeting someone and got married to them and this is where they stayed,” said Loots.
Some soldiers had really interesting stories. Gordon Prange was a chief historian for general Douglas MacArthur from 1942 to 1951.
Three soldiers from the area lost their lives in the same battle.
“There are pictures of all the people who came to the funeral and at the end of the article it said the three people were the same or killed at the same time,” said Loots.
The soldiers who died in WWI, were Albert Albrecht, William Albrecht, August Schnell, and Niles Hoods.
“Almost everybody on here has a story,” said Loots.” some found it from their tombstone, and I found it from a family member or some people wrote to me.”
The names were engraved into granite pillars. There is space for more names to be added for those left out or for future generations. Soldiers need to be from the Pomeroy, Jolley, or Knoke, areas of Calhoun County, Iowa.
To get in touch with Loots, you can email her at: email@example.com