For months now, the Waukee Leadership Institute’s Class of 2017 has been working on its project. On Thursday, June 22, the project was finally put before the public with a ribbon cutting.

Now outside of the Waukee Community Center are eight monuments, one representing each branch of the military, one for the Waukee Police Department, one for the Fire Department, and one recognizing donors and sponsors of the project.

Anna Bergman, Waukee City Councilor and member of the WLI Class of 2017 admitted that she stopped out the night before Thursday’s ribbon cutting to make sure that everything was ready to go.

“I was trying to wait to be surprised by it, and I walked out and the only thing I could think of was, it was perfect,” Bergman said. “It was exactly what we designed. It was tasteful, it was high quality, it added to the Community Center, but it didn’t detract from what it really is.”

Veterans of each branch of the military, as well as representatives from the Police Department and the Fire Department were in attendance for the ribbon cutting and some of them even had the honor of cutting the ribbon around the monument honoring their branch.

Bergman said that it was important to have the veterans be a part of the experience on the day of the ribbon cutting.

“It was a huge deal, and we realized how important it was when we started making the calls to ask them if they would come and asking them if they would interesting in cutting… the ribbon,” Bergman said. “They were absolutely just honored to take part in the ceremony and I thought, well that really speaks volumes to who they are because if they’re honored just to participate in the ceremony, the whole reason we’re doing it is because we want to show honor to them for what they’ve done.”

Waukee Chief of Police John Quinn said that public safety employees are “blessed” in Waukee.

“We have great support from the community, but for the community to represent the Waukee Police Department and Fire Department, along with all our military branches, it truly is an honor to be a part of that and it’s appreciated by each and every member of the public safety branches here to know that the people appreciate that sacrifices they make and the service that they provide,” Quinn said.

Fire Chief Clint Robinson felt honored to be included in the ceremony and that it was “fantastic” to be honored alongside those in the armed forces.

“To be in that kind of company, it’s a pretty big deal,” Robinson said. “It’s humbling actually.”

When they were deciding where to put the Veterans Memorial, it turned out to be symbolic that it landed at the Waukee Community Center as the building used to serve as the Waukee Fire Department.

Robinson was a member of the Fire Department back when it was still located where the Community Center currently sits.

“It actually has kind of a little bit deeper meaning (for me) than for most everybody, but it’s a big deal,” Robinson said. “It’s something people are going to walk by everyday and just kind of a monument to what our people do, serving the community everyday.”

The project cost $25,000 and was raised entirely through donations and sponsorships. This was something Bergman said they were hopeful for, but didn’t necessarily expect.

“We were very overwhelmed with community support,” Bergman said.