Alberton student honoring veterans with memorial

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Alberton junior Jordan Taapken works on a model of a veterans memorial he planned for his senior project. The memorial will be installed in the Alberton town park. (Kathleen Woodford/Mineral Independent)

Every year, seniors at Alberton High School are assigned to do a “Senior Project” with the criteria that it has a community service component to it. However, junior Jordan Taapken asked if he could start his project early because of its magnitude. He has chosen to create a veterans memorial, which will recognize all of the military branches.

“Whenever I see someone in uniform I go up and thank them for their service,” he said.

Jordan comes from a long line of military family members, and said he wishes to honor all veterans who have served, who are currently serving and those who hope to serve in the military.

Armed with a small model replica of the memorial, he shows his idea for the project. It will consist of five 4-by-8-foot black granite walls which represent each branch of the military: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.

Each wall will contain the date the branch went into service, the branch motto and logo, and will be engraved with, “To all who have served, To all who are serving, Whoever will serve the United States (branch name), We honor you, We salute you, We thank you for your service.”

Behind the walls, there will be a flagpole with each branch’s flag — with the American flag in the middle. All of the flags will be lit with solar panel lights. Jordan is hoping to raise $75,000 through donations and possible grant funding. The memorial will be installed in the Alberton town park, possibly east of the tennis court.

His father, Michael Taapken, served in the Marines and said he is very proud of Jordan and supports the project. They have already spoken to representatives from each branch about their idea and have their permission to proceed. The model they made was created from real granite pieces donated by Direct Source in Missoula. The granite walls are the most expensive part of the project with them running approximately $50 per square foot.

Michael said he will help out in any way he can to see the project come to fruition. Both Jordan and Michael agree that if enough money isn’t raised by the end of Jordan’s senior year, they will continue their efforts until completion.

“Veterans all over the world deserve recognition for all that they do and for putting their life on the line, and it’s time that recognition comes to Alberton to honor our men and women,” said Jordan’s mother, Mindy Taapken.

Donations are currently being accepted and can be dropped off or mailed to Alberton School, where an account has been set up.

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