It all began with a simple question about why Sussex, Wisconsin, didn’t have an armed forces memorial.
Scout Gabriel K., of the Potawatomi Area Council, was spending time with his grandfather when he inquired about the lack of a memorial in their town.
“I asked my grandpa why Sussex didn’t have a memorial to honor veterans,” Gabriel said. “He told me that Sussex had a World War II one but not for all veterans, and he challenged me to do something about it.”
A Scout is obedient, so Gabriel took his grandfather’s challenge to heart and began a 4-year process of planning the armed forces memorial that would become his Eagle Scout project.
Recently completed after an intense 8-month construction and execution phase, the armed forces memorial features five Lannon stone benches, bricks, a flagpole, and small stone obelisks that are engraved with the names of the branches of service. The key feature of the structure is that it honors all of the branches of service.
In bringing his project to life, Gabriel encountered the kind of challenges not uncommon to some Eagle candidates. In particular, he discovered that finding a location for it was more difficult than he had first imagined.
“The biggest challenge was finding a place to put the memorial,” he said. “When I was told ‘no,’ I just kept looking for another place until Hamilton High School told me ‘yes.'”
The perseverance paid off, and now the entire community of Sussex is able to appreciate the memorial and honor the veterans who have served in the armed forces.