GREAT FALLS — In an effort to honor the families of fallen servicemen and women, Great Falls Flower Growers and Rainbow Garden Club raised money to install a Gold Star Memorial marker along the western edge of the Montana Veterans Memorial.
Rainbow Garden Club president Patricia Schlaeger explained the Gold Star Memorial marker's purpose.
“Every day is Memorial Day when you have a military family,” Schlaeger said, “We are encouraging family members who are gold star families to feel free to come up and take a quiet moment. reflect on the love they have for their family member and know that we, in the state of Montana, are giving honor to those family members.”
The two garden clubs have come together several times in years past for other projects benefiting veterans, including the Blue star Memorial Marker located to the east of the Montana Veterans Memorial in 2007 and the installation of two benches within Veterans’ Memorial Park (one for each of the garden clubs).
However, this is the first time the clubs have been able to work on a project that would directly benefit the families of the fallen, and the members have spent the past few years fundraising for that very purpose.
“The ladies worked through a couple of years paying for the marker and its installation,” Schlaeger said.
The gold marker currently sits in a bed of red, white and purple flowers and is open for public viewing any time.
“The memorial is open all year-round, all 24 hours a day. There are lights here...There are handicap parking places right in front, so it’s very easy to see,” Schlaeger said.
Schlaeger said the garden clubs hope to see three more Gold Star Memorial markers installed in Montana this year - in Stevensville, Glendive, and Cascade.