Have you forgotten?
Veterans, supporters moving forward on memorial park
Marine Lance Cpl. Brad Shuder, Army Staff Sgt. Mathew Taylor, Army Sgt. Kyle Dayton and Marine Staff Sgt. Sky Mote — these local men gave their lives for our freedom and last Wednesday, as Rotarian Bill Tobin read their names and a small bio, tears welled up in people’s eyes.
The El Dorado Hills Rotary Club and the veterans behind the Veterans Memorial Park — 100 Year Journey in El Dorado Hills’ Promontory Park continue to work tirelessly toward their goals of breaking ground and completing one of the most beautiful and educational memorials on the West Coast.
“Of course the schedule’s been pushed a little but we’re going to get there,” said Bob Diesel, project architect with Anova Nexus Architects.
For three years and eight months the project’s team and supporters have worked on the $1.2 million memorial park, clearing hurdles with local agencies and raising funds. The economy and other hiccups delayed groundbreaking, frustrating the team “but we’re still determined,” said Mark Foltz, project manager with Otto Construction.
The team gave the El Dorado Hills Rotary Club, which has donated more than $8,000 toward the memorial, a project overview and update last week.
The 1.2 acre site donated by the El Dorado Hills Community Services District will become home to “a memory garden, walk-through exhbits, and a gathering area with stage. It will also feature the ‘100 Year Journey,’ where, along a winding path, visitors will pass exhibits representing 100 years of United States’ conflict history, from World War 1 through the present day,” according to the project website, edhvetsmemorial.org. When completed, committee members said they hope local school children will come to the memorial and lear about our past.
“We don’t want our youth to forget the sacrifices,” said EDH Rotarian Kathy Witherow, who also serves as a project co-chair with Tobin and veteran Dick Grinnell. “They should understand what conflicts have cost us.”
The memories of the sons Tobin named fueled the project founders’ desires to build a memorial.
“We didn’t want our Afghanistan and Iraq veterans … to be forgotten for 20 years like we were,” said project chairman Robert Leon, a Vietnam veteran.
The committee hopes to host a groundbreaking ceremony by the end of the year, Leon added.
Fundraising continues — see the website to learn how individuals and businesses can help — and last Wednesday’s meeting yielded at least one new supporter. Placerville resident Ron Thompson confessed that he wasn’t aware of the project prior to attending the presentation held near the memorial park site. After listening to committee members share their goals, Thompson said, “Come see me in Placerville. I can tell you now there’ll be some money coming your way.”
Help and have fun
Mark your calendars for the fourth annual Blues and Brews for Vets.
The El Dorado Hills Rotary event will take place on Saturday, Nov. 16, at the El Dorado Hills Community Services District gym on Harvard Way. Tickets are $25 general admission and $10 for veterans and their spouses (or dates). More information will soon be available online at edhblues.com.