Military Service Park becomes reality for Verde Valley
COTTONWOOD -- Maybe he didn't know his great grandfather, but he will know how he was great. That is the mission of the Verde Valley Military Service Park.
About 2000 Verde Valley men and woman have served in the military in some capacity. People of the Verde Valley will honor their military veterans from all conflicts in a scenic and tranquil setting.
A section of Garrison Park surrounded by public buildings and park facilities was donated by the City of Cottonwood for the tribute that will honor all Verde Valley former military members.
The dedicated park will serve as a lasting remembrance to the men and women who served our country. It will be constructed in phases as contributions become available.
"We have had some very generous in-kind and financial donations," said Ron Luce, a committee member and Commander of the VFW Post. In-kind contributions of $30,000 have been made for design, engineering and plans. In addition, significant financial donations have added to our building fund.
Luce says a ground-breaking for the first phase, the placing of a 65-foot tall American flag and all service flags will take place in December or January to stir greater interest in the project.
"Once we have erected the American Flag, we will have the ammunition to take it across the finish line," said Luce
The first phase will be followed by creation of the entry way and each of the five individual service monument pods as funding permits.
Those monuments will stand 6-feet, 4-inches tall. Phase III will include planters and benches and dedication areas will be placed in the fourth phase.
The committee raised about $10,000 at the Thunder Valley Rally this year, through contributions, concessions and sale of challenge coins.
There have been information and sales booths at other events, such as Fort Verde Days.
"We are planning a large fundraiser in the spring, with a well-recognized country music star," said Luce.
"We have been selling especially-designed and crafted Challenge Coins to help fund the park.
The special coins carry the insignia of the five branches of service on one side and the American Flag on the opposite side with the name of the Service Park.
Inscription applications are available, for an inscription of a veteran's name. A $75 fee covers the cost of engravement on the appropriate.
Please send donations of the Verde Valley Military Service Park c/o Marine Corps League, P.O. Box 2286, Cottonwood, Az. 86326.
Please make checks payable to Verde Valley Military Service Park.
Donations may also be made payable via the website: www.verdevalleymilitaryservicepark.com