Dominique Claseman, 17, didn’t like the fact that his town of Olivia, Minnesota, had no veterans memorial, so he decided to create one. Over the course of nearly two years, he fundraised, sketched designs, and helped build the memorial, which the town dedicated in May.

Q: Did you get support from your community?

A: There was a lot of support, a lot of great comments from the community. Like, even just the fundraising part—that was unbelievable the amount of money that I got. My initial goal was between $18,000 and $20,000. We got $77,000.

Q: What was it like building the memorial?

A: I was really anxious. I liked seeing how it was all slowly coming together, but while we were in the building process, we covered it all. So I never got to see what the full thing looked like uncovered until it came down to the actual dedication ceremony.

Q: What did you think when you finally saw it?

A: It was greater than what I even could imagine.

Q: What did you learn from the whole experience?

A: In order to take leadership, you have to be able to step back and teach others how to do it. You can’t do everything yourself. Nothing would actually come together without teamwork.

(This interview was edited and condensed for length and clarity.)