Each year, a memorial service is held in Three Forks in memory of Montana Highway Patrol Trooper David DeLaittre.
This year there will be a new addition to the memorial.
Ed Walter of Twin Bridges created a saluting cross that will stand tall at the David DeLaittre Memorial in Three Forks.
“When I saw the memorial, the way the light comes across there, it just struck me,” said Walter. “This just needs one of those crosses there.”
The original saluting cross came to Walter in a similar way, some may say it was a bit of divine intervention.
“One day in the forge, I missed a hit with the hammer and it kinda bent one of the arms up, and I thought ‘Hey, that’s kind of a thing,’” said Walter.
Since then Walter has made the saluting crosses for families that have lost someone in the armed services or law enforcement.
“I gave the first few away to people and then more people came up and asked ‘Can I get one of those?’ and it’s just snowballed since,” said Walter.
The cross for the memorial is the first large-scale one that Walter has made and it proved to be quite the task.
“I added on and welded one each piece,” said Walter. “Especially the saluting arms, most of the weight is on that side, so it kept wanting to fall.”
Despite the challenge of such a large cross, Walter says it’s nothing compared to the meaning behind it.
“It takes awhile, a bit of work, but it’s a small sacrifice for me to make, considering who it’s for and what it’s for.”
A veteran himself, Walter says that he keeps making these pieces to hear people’s stories and the cross is a reminder.
“Just raise awareness, and thanks to all these people,” said Walter. “Let people know that we need to honor those who stand and protect us. So I’ll do my piece.”
The memorial for fallen Trooper DeLaittre will be held this Friday at 4 p.m. at the memorial site in Three Forks.