(Mayville) Early morning showers were no deterrent for the Gold Star families and members of the public who turned out for the grand opening of the Gold Star Memorial Trail Saturday morning. The ceremony commemorated the official open of the two-mile trail which extends from Mayville’s Theiler Park to the Horicon Marsh Visitors Center. The Gold Star designation is given to the families of fallen servicemen and women.
Among the speakers for the event was Mayville Mayor Rob Boelk, who commented on the importance of the trail to the community. Boelk says the trail is fitting for the city, Dodge County, and the State of Wisconsin dedicated to the memory of those who have fallen and given the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.
Andrew Johnson, a Gold Star father, spoke to the emotional impact of the competed first phase of the trail, saying that the Gold Star Trail is designed to be a good place. Johnson says it is not a memorial you visit to be sad but, instead, to be happy and remember those who sacrificed; it is a place for families and people of all ages.
Army Chaplain Colonel Douglas Fleischfresser, the keynote speaker, reminded those in attendance of the sacrifices made by not only the soldiers, but by their Gold Star families. Fleischfresser says we must hold in high esteem those who have paid the highest price, and the families who have sacrificed by giving their loved ones in protection and preservation of our nation.
Other officials in attendance included State Representative Mark Born, Mayville Police Chief Jim Ketchem, and Dodge County Sheriff Dale Schmidt. Plans are in the works to bring the trail to Beaver Dam in its final phase.