Someone You Should Know: New Colman Veterans Memorial Park Organizer

Colman Community Support

COLMAN, S.D. – In Colman, a small town of fewer than 600 people, there is something new going on. Leaders have organized the construction of a veteran’s memorial park. The monument stones and statues are in place, but it’s not quite finished. The man spearheading the project is no stranger to being in charge.

“We’ve had a lot of people just driven by and you will see them, they will turn around and come back, stop and take a look, said Roger Fritz the man at the center of the project.

Work on the memorial project began about a year and a half ago. Most people in the Colman area know Fritz as the longtime school superintendent. Now retired, Fritz isn’t slowing down much. The Post Commander for the American Legion says the idea behind the veteran’s memorial came one day while he was running errands.

“I walked into the post office and there were 3 or 4 people and they said you know, why can’t we put up a memorial,” said Fritz.

The memorial consists of statues of service members, monuments representing the 5 branches of the military, a couple of eagles and more than 250 engraved pavers. Families bought the pavers for a hundred dollars each, which helped fund the project. Fritz says he is proud of the way his community has measured up to the task. The only thing missing is the flagpole, which will be installed in a few days.

People in the community have also donated their time and services from electrical work to the concrete visitors will walk around on.

“Just everybody has come together,” he said. “And it has been a good thing for the community”

As a former member of the U.S. Army and the Army Reserve, Fritz knows on an emotional level what a memorial like this can mean to someone who has served. And, maybe for Fritz and the rest of the committee members the words written on the monument at the entrance sum it up.

It reads, “Honoring area veterans for their service to our country in times of war and peace so we can enjoy the freedoms we so deeply treasure.”

“We need to kind of stop and remember a little bit, said Fritz. “You don’t recognize what some of the people have given or sacrificed that important I think.”

According to Fritz, the project has come together very quickly in the last few weeks. The committee has not set a date for a dedication yet, but probably sometime later this summer.

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