War memorial to be built in Billings to honor Afghanistan and Iraq veterans

A U.S. Army veteran is on a mission to build a war memorial in Billings to honor Montanans who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Rick Baker, who owns a metal fabrication business in Shepherd, was at the Yellowstone County Courthouse in 2020 when he noticed the monument outside doesn’t recognize those lost in the more recent conflicts.

“Now, I’m not an emotional guy. But that day, I felt a lot of emotion all at once,” he said. “I lost a lot of friends in those wars.”

So, he took it upon himself to create a tribute for them, too.

Baker, 39, started Hoodies for Heroes, which sells sweatshirts, t-shirts, hats and other gear to help raise money for the memorial. So far, he said, the nonprofit has raised about $1,200 for the $500,000 project.

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Earlier this month, he got the green light from the city of Billings to build the memorial in Delher Park.

“We always like to honor our veterans who fought and lost their lives for the country,” Billings Parks Director Mike Pigg said in a news release about

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