DU in Nebraska salutes U.S. military fallen veterans
|(left to right) Colonel Kevin Neumann, DU Volunteer Kyle Hildebrand and DU Regional Director Steve Willson|
GRAND ISLAND, Neb., Sept. 14, 2009 –Ducks Unlimited this weekend dedicated the Fallen Heroes Marsh. Family and friends of Nebraska’s veterans who were killed or wounded in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan attended to honor their sacrifices. The memorial stands on DU’s Verona Complex, a natural area that attracts thousands of ducks each year as they migrate from wintering to breeding grounds.
“The inspiration to memorialize the legacy of our fallen heroes and their individual contributions to our country through wetlands conservation will serve generations of Nebraskans just as the sacrifices that our heroes made will continue for generations. It seems extremely fitting to honor their sacrifice this way,” said Kyle Hildebrand, DU volunteer and Iraq War veteran.
Colonel Kevin Neumann, chief of staff for the Nebraska National Guard spoke at the dedication. Col. Neumann has recently returned from service in Afghanistan and is an avid duck hunter who is actively working to recognize the sacrifices of fallen military veterans and their families.
The family of U.S. Army soldier Adam Herold inspired the efforts for the Fallen Heroes Marsh. They wanted to honor his memory and the memory of all of Nebraska’s military men and women who were killed or wounded in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Adam was an avid waterfowl hunter and ardent DU supporter along with other members of his family. Adam’s family felt strongly that conserving waterfowl habitat in Nebraska would be the perfect way to honor his sacrifice for his country.
“The Herold family along with many supporters and volunteers have made this dream a reality. We are honored that Adam’s family came to us with this request,” said Steve Wilson, regional director for DU.
The marsh is located on DU’s Verona Complex, a key wetland area in the Rainwater Basin. The marsh will be a place where friends and families can come to hunt, watch, photograph or simply listen to ducks and remember loved ones who dedicated their lives to the United States.
The volunteers on the Fallen Heroes Marsh committee raised nearly $400,000 for this effort. These funds will be directed toward waterfowl and wetland conservation efforts throughout Nebraska.
With more than a million supporters, Ducks Unlimited is the world's largest and most effective wetland and waterfowl conservation organization and has conserved more than 12 million acres. The United States alone has lost more than half of its original wetlands – nature's most productive ecosystem – and continues to lose more than 80,000 wetland acres important to waterfowl each year.
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