The 42 members of American Legion Post #276 in Sarles have come together to give veterans of western Cavalier County their due. The Post has recently completed a memorial monument to servicemen who have lived in the area.
By Melissa Anderson
“It’s something that never would have been done. It takes in pretty much all of western Cavalier County,” Harold Estenson, Commander of Post #276, said.
The closest posts to Sarles are located 40 miles away in Langdon and a little over 30 miles to Rolla, leaving the small community to cover six towns- Sarles, Calvin, Clyde, Munich, Calio, Hannah, and parts of Rock Lake and Wales. The Sarles post was chartered in 1947 with 32 original members. At its high in 1992, Post #276 had 102 members.
“It’s not like it used to be. Population is way down compared to what it used to be,” Estenson shared.
Located in the city center, the monument currently has over 500 names of veterans already engraved with more yet to be added. The black granite also contains the names of over 160 Auxiliary members. Many of the women’s names are Junior Auxiliary members.
“We missed a few. In fact I even missed my oldest granddaughter,” Estenson shared.
There are four slabs placed prominently in Sarles that list the names of servicemen from the Civil War to the modern wars waged today in the Middle East. One slab contains the dedication to the two servicemen the post is named for, Malcolm Brumwell and Lynn Gray, who died in combat during World War II.
Fundraising for the monument began in January of 2018. Estenson and fellow member Charlie Lewis discussed the proposed monument with the Milton American Legion, gaining valuable insight on how to proceed.
“They came over for a meeting and kind of helped explain how to get started,” Estenson said.
Total cost for the monument is $50,000, which the post was able to gather to fully fund the project. The post sent out over 600 letters requesting assistance with funding the project.
“[People] were very helpful and generous with their donations,” Estenson shared.
Now that the monument has been completed, maintaining the site is the focus. Estenson explained that the post is still taking donations for this purpose with an account in place at Horizon Financial Bank in Munich.
The members of the Sarles post wanted the monument to be a permanent record of the service given to the country by members of the communities. These same members are honored every year during Memorial Day, but with towns getting smaller and members dwindling, this worthwhile project was pursued as a means of ensuring that the names of those who served are never forgotten.