Northland Fallen Soldier Honored with Memorial Garden at Dairyland Outdoor Veterans Retreat
Sgt. Chad Allen, a marine, was just in his 20s when he was killed on a tour in Iraq in 2007.
DAIRYLAND, Wis.- Local veterans, friends and family, and others in the small rural Wisconsin town of Dairyland gathered at the Dairyland Outdoor Veterans Retreat and campground to pay a special tribute to one of their own young men killed in action in Iraq.
“After 13 years, his memory still grows stronger and stronger,” said Brandon Allen, there recognizing his brother’s sacrifice. The colors were raised, officially opening the Chad Allen Memorial Garden inside the retreat.
“Anytime the flags are involved the color guard, it’s just always a heart-wrenching moment,” Steve Allen, Chad’s father, said. “The memories come flooding back.”
Many others in the community remembered the local young man who lost his life for their country. And according to his brothers in arms, you shouldn’t have to know him to honor his service.
“You have people protecting you and a lot of them don’t come home,” said Greg Veldhouse, Commander of VFW Post 10818 in New Richmond. “And to be here and honor one of them that didn’t is the best thing we can do.”
Sgt. Chad Allen, a marine, was just in his 20s when he was killed on a tour in Iraq in 2007. His family reminisced, and celebrated the commemoration.
“Very emotional,” Brandon said, “it’s been 13 years since he passed away and to see this come to fruition like it has is just amazing, it’s a great sight to behold.”
The Color Guard presented and ceremoniously folded an American flag in remembrance of their local fallen hero. “A lot of people believe that 13 folds represent the 13 original colonies but that’s not the case,” said Veldhouse.
“One fold will honor the mothers who raised up the veterans, another fold will recognize the fathers who also raised up their sons and daughters to help defend this country,” he said.
Everyone recognized Chad’s parents Saturday, joining his mother and veteran father in remembering, and processing the loss of their son. “Basically it’s just another step for us, we think of, as a family we think of Chad all the time,” said Steve.
“It’s like we get a whole new family now so today was very meaningful for us,” he said.
At the top of the wall in the front of the garden is a brick with Chad’s name, details, and the message “Never Forgotten.” His joins the names of other veterans throughout Northern Wisconsin, preserved on the wall.
“I think it’s not just necessarily Chad being remembered, I think it’s all the veterans, fallen and veterans that are still around it’s, they need to be honored,” Steve said.
VFW staff said they hope people will buy more bricks engraved with other veterans’ names, enough to build a second wall and continue funding their nonprofit organization.
Dairyland Outdoor Veterans Retreat is a wilderness retreat for vets run by vets. A large space surrounded by Dairyland’s forests, with a campground open to the public. “It’s a perfect place for veterans to come and rest, renew just like it says,” said Steve, who helped start the program.
Now, it houses a memorial named after one who gave the ultimate sacrifice. “I think it kind of rolls off into lots of pride, pride for our family,” Brandon said.
And the addition of the Chad Allen Memorial Garden, his family says, is an important reminder to remember veterans lost and honor those we still have.
“The whole retreat here has a come a long ways and it’s just an honor to know that his name’s being remembered in this type of situation,” said Steve.