Hundreds Celebrate Opening of Iron River’s “Across the Pond” Veterans Park

Five years ago Ray Kangas, a veteran himself, had a dream to start a veterans' park in Iron River and Saturday, that dream started coming true as phase one of the Across the Pond Veterans' Park officially opened.

IRON RIVER, Wis. – Hundreds came out to see the cutting of the ribbon at the brand new Across the Pond Veterans Park on Saturday after five years in development.

Five years ago Ray Kangas, a veteran himself, had a dream to start a veterans’ park in Iron River.

Saturday, that dream started coming true as phase one of the Across the Pond Veterans’ Park officially opened.

“I guess I got the chills and stuff it was an awesome feeling and a fulfillment and just good all the way around,” said Kangas, the chairman of the veterans’ park.

The park now includes a trail and 7 flag poles for the American flag and all six service branches.

“I was pleasantly surprised to see a full house I knew it would happen because this is a very humbling area and a very patriotic area and veterans and friends of veterans don’t forget what it’s all about,” said K.C. Johnson, the chief of staff for Disabled American Veterans Department of Wisconsin.

Phase two of the park will include spots for a dozen RVs and a dozen campsites along with a dock.

Eventually the hope for Across the Pond is to open a large lodge as well.

All this geared towards giving veterans and the public a place to feel comfortable.

“it’s a place where veterans can come enjoy relax pause and reflect,” said Johnson.

The raising of the flags not only signified the opening of phase one, but the installation will serve as a permanent reminder to always honor veterans’ service.

“The worst thing that can happen is to be forgotten for anybody to forget what you did for your country. Doesn’t matter where you served or what you did in the military to be forgotten is the worst thing and today they weren’t forgotten,” says Johnson.

Many veterans and their families at the event spoke about how great the support has been from the community to achieve this goal and how proud they are to be part of this country.

“Living in the united states serving for the United States just meant a lot to me and I know it means a lot to a lot of the other people,” said Rod Abbas, the commander of the Iron River American Legion.

Donations to help the park complete phase 2 are being accepted here.

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