Fort Akinson (WKOW) -- A new memorial was unveiled Sunday that honors the service and sacrifice of military K9s.
The "K9 Veterans Memorial" was unveiled at McCoy Park in front of an audience filled with veterans who are or were K9 handlers while serving in combat.
"I am just so thrilled that they are doing anything like [the memorial] for the dogs that contributed so much," said Jim Perry, an Army veteran, who trains dogs for combat. "They detect booby traps, they detect ambushes, snipers, you just can't beat them."
The memorial includes a bronze statue of a military K9 and a granite monument with etchings of quotes and photographs.
The Kennel Club of Fort Atkinson, who helped plan and fundraiser for the memorial, say they were inspired by the memory of Terry Beck, a Fort Atkinson K9 handler and his German Shepard dog, Seato. The two made the "ultimate sacrifice" in December 1967.
"The community of Fort Atkinson and the veteran groups and all of the people who have donated have been so generous," said Mabel Schumacher, project coordinator for the memorial. She says they received about $63,000 in donations.
Siblings of Terry Beck, Ted Beck and Connie Beck Wald, attended the unveiling ceremony.
"This is something [Terry] always wanted to do and it was important that he was a volunteer, he was a marine and that's always been with us," said Beck. "So the honor of this and all of the people that showed up and all the old friends, it just reinforces that."
The Becks also say the memorial reinforces the companionship their brother had with his dog.
"Just seeing the partnership that he had with his do, we never met, we only heard about," said Beck.
The memorial is designed to honor the service and sacrifice of military K9s either past, present or future.
"I can bring a couple of my own children here to see it, that's very special," said Beck.
The bronze statue was created by a local sculptor Mark Dziewior.
The granite memorial was made in India and etched in Watertown, according to the Kennel Club of Fort Atkinson.