Bricklayer builds monument

MARSHALL, Mich. (AP) — For years, bricks with the names of local people who had served in the military lined a Veterans of Foreign War memorial walkway on the circle in the middle of town.

In view of all who drove and walked by, but, in truth, seen by relatively few, the memorial bricks laid there in obscurity.

Marshall resident, and Vietnam veteran, Bob Misener noticed. And he didn’t like what he was seeing because the bricks were in disrepair and weeds were growing in between them.

“Being a bricklayer, I didn’t like it,” he said. “And I couldn’t even find my brick.”

The worst part, as Misener saw it, was that it was disrespectful to those who had served their country. So the retired professional bricklayer decided, literally, to take matters into his own hands.

With the backing of the Marshall VFW chapter, Misener decided to remove each brick from the walkway and build a new pyramid-shaped monument on the well-traveled circle in town.
“This is my little contribution to the men and women who served,” he said.

And while it was a labor of love for Misener, it was still labor. He started work on the monument in August and completed it just last week.

“I took my time,” he said.

He worked mostly in the morning and in all kinds of weather. Misener said the design idea was his but he did receive help from Bill Morse and Don and Ron Trine, who dug the concrete footing on which the monument sits.

And while the local VFW backed the project, even Marshall Post 4073 Commander Merlin Shaver was surprised with what he saw.

“I was very impressed,” he said. “I didn’t expect we were going to be able to do it.”

The project cost about $1,200 to complete, and all of it came from donations. “I called people and we had the $1,200 for materials,” Shaver said.

To date, there are some 240 bricks in the new wall but another 60 or so still remain in the walkway, waiting for a new home.

But there are plans for those as well. The VFW is embarking on a buy a brick campaign that will cover the cost of a second wall to be built next to the current one. Each brick will cost $50 and would be added to the new wall.

There are no plans for a formal dedication of the new wall but Shaver said it would be acknowledged during Veterans Day celebration.

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