Sleepy Eye dedicates Huey helicopter memorial on September 11

The City of Sleepy Eye held a dedication ceremony for a new addition to its Veteran's Park Memorial.
Published: Sep. 12, 2022 at 10:46 AM CDT
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SLEEPY EYE, Minn. (KEYC) -A new addition to Veterans’ Park in Sleepy Eye, a 1960s Huey helicopter was permanently installed with a dedication ceremony Sunday.

An iconic image of the Vietnam War, members of the Sleepy Eye Honor Guard hope that the installation will bridge the gap between Vietnam-era veterans and those currently enrolled in military service.

“The Huey went into service in the 1960s, and is still in service today,” said Rick Mages of the Sleepy Eye Honor Guard. “My sons are veterans of the Iraq Afghanistan Kuwait, so this is for everybody, all the veterans in our community.”

The ceremony featured speakers ranging from local military veterans to recent House of Representatives elect Brad Finstad.

Veteran’s Park was filled with community members coming to show support for the veterans in their community, and organizers said that they couldn’t be happier to see the support from the community.

“A lot has to say about the crowd of people here,” said organizer Doug Pelzel. “The citizens of Sleepy Eye, everybody that supported us -- they were all in attendance. And it just, all the donors, it’s just overwhelming to be a part of this. It’s hard not to get a little emotional,”

The ceremony was scheduled on September 11, and organizers said that it was an opportunity to extend their thanks to all veterans and service members, not just those whose names are listed on the memorial.

City officials said that that sentiment is one that is shared within the community as a whole.

“It’s groups, it’s individuals it’s companies,” said Kurk Kramer, EDA Coordinator for the city of Sleepy Eye. “It just shows you how much this community really appreciates the military and our veterans, and what they’ve done for us because the support for them is just outstanding,”