A 15-year-old decided his hometown needed a veterans memorial, so he raised $77K to build one

Dominique Claseman from Olivia, Minnesota, came to the Olivia City Council as a 15-year-old to discuss his plan to build a veterans memorial in his hometown. He even had architect drawings with him and space already picked out.

It was a huge project, but he was confident that people in the community would want to donate to something like it.

Two years later, his vision finally became a reality.

On Memorial Day, hundreds of people gathered for the dedication of the new veterans memorial in Olivia, completed by Dominique as his Eagle Scout project a few weeks shy of his 17th birthday.“The memorial before you is the result of the generosity and support that I, and the veterans of community, have received,” the young man said in his speech.

Ron Kopacek, who headed up the dedication’s honor guard, was impressed by how Dominique managed to do it.

“Fifteen years old, sophomore in high school, he’s going to raise $12,000 to $15,000 we’re thinking, ‘What? Really?’”But the dedicated teen said he questions himself on how he even did it sometimes.

Dominique started the project by distributing information sheets, doing interviews with the local radio station and newspaper, and setting up a table to pitch it during events at the Olivia American Legion.

As donations and purchases of engraved pavers exceeded his expectations, he expanded his initial concept of what the memorial could be.Dominique’s original fundraising goal was $12,000 to $15,000, but he ended up raising a little more than $77,000.

Dominique, who comes from a long line of service members, requested for his dad, scoutmaster Mark Jurgensen, who served in Iraq, to wear his combat boots to mark 21 footprints on the memorial’s wet cement.4

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