The Ralph Buechner Matching Dollar Grant will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima by matching up to $13,000 in Memorial Park donations.
The family of Ralph Buechner has announced a $13,000 matching grant to support the planned Memorial Park for area Veterans. From February 19th – March 26th, the dates of the historic battle, the Buechners will match up to $13,000 in donations for the park to honor Ralph’s memory.
Ralph Leo Buechner was born on May 9, 1924 in a house on Mount Horeb’s main street. He delivered milk and newspapers growing up, becoming a familiar sight and getting to know almost everyone in town. In 1942, he skipped his senior year at Mount Horeb High School to enlist in the United States Marine Corps. He served at Guadalcanal, Bougainville, and Iwo Jima in the Pacific theater.
After the war, he married Beverly Birrenkott and worked in construction with his father, Joseph Buechner, on a number of area buildings including Saint Ignatius Catholic Church, the Ingleside Communities, and the Mount Horeb Co-op. He would go on to found and run his own construction company and raise nine children with Beverly. He served as a volunteer firefighter for many years, famously becoming the only one willing to wear the number 13 on his uniforms. The family picked $13,000 for the matching grant to recognize his “Lucky Number.”
His son, Jim Buechner, said “Dad marched in the Memorial Day parade for as long as I can remember until he had to use a cane.”Later in life, he was proud to have the opportunity to return to Iwo Jima to honor the more than 26,000 Veterans killed or injured during the campaign. He did not have the traditional set of dog tags to leave behind, so he substituted his rosary. He passed away in September 2019 at the age of 95, leaving behind a legacy of community service and a loving family that spans four generations.
About the Memorial Park
The Veterans Memorial Park will provide a space to learn, reflect, and honor members of the community who have served in the United States Armed Forces. Its centerpiece, a five-pillar Freedom Tower, represents the five service branches – Marine Corps, Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. The Memorial Park association plans to break ground in spring 2020 at 1948 Springdale Street in Mount Horeb.
The Ralph Buechner Matching Dollar Grant
The Ralph Buechner Matching Dollar Grant will commemorate the 75thanniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima by matching up to $13,000 in Memorial Park donations.