Mon, Dec. 09

Ribbon-cutting for Military Service Park on Veterans Day

D&O Crane installs the 70-foot American flagpole at the Verde Valley Military Park. The ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for Nov. 11 at 1 p.m. at Garrison Park. (Courtesy of Richard Faust)

D&O Crane installs the 70-foot American flagpole at the Verde Valley Military Park. The ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for Nov. 11 at 1 p.m. at Garrison Park. (Courtesy of Richard Faust)

COTTONWOOD – The time has arrived.

The Verde Valley Military Service Park will have its Veterans Day ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday at 1 p.m. at Garrison Park in Cottonwood.

The ceremony will include the raising of the 12-by-18 foot United States flag and the five military service flags. The bronze military service dog statue will be unveiled as well.

This will complete phase one of the park, and represents the results of 22 months of hard work by a dedicated group of patriotic Verde Valley citizens.

“I love it because it is a regional effort,” said Cottonwood Mayor Diane Joens.

Mayor Joens said the location at Garrison Park was selected due to its proximity to the school, and said it was very important that children of the community learn about the sacrifices that families have suffered.

“It’s a way for our younger people to learn about that history,” said Mayor Joens.

The Verde Valley Military Service Park’s mission is to honor military veterans of the United States who currently live in the Verde Valley, have lived in the Verde Valley, or have Verde Valley connections, and has honorably served their country.

“I hope people will recognize what we’re trying to accomplish,” said Committee President Keith Vogler. Freedom is not free, he added.

A guiding principle of the Park will always be “that military service is to be honored and respected, because until humanity achieves peace, the preservation of freedom will depend largely upon convictions, courage and heroism of members of the United States military services.”

“It’s the first thing in my heart,” said Pam Van Winkle about the Verde Valley Military Park.

“Anything for veterans. It’s all about veterans,” she said.

Schedule of events

Committee members will begin to set up chairs at 11:30 a.m., and the Honor Guard, Service Posts and major donors are being asked to arrive at 12:30 p.m. to do a run through of the flag-raising.

At 1 p.m., Committee Vice President Ron Luce, the ceremony’s moderator, will give a greeting and introduce supervisors and mayors of the area, and will ask if they want to say a few words.

Luce will then list all of the in-kind donors who “have put so much into this.” If the donors are in attendance, they will be asked to stand and come up.

The committee members - who include Mayor Diane Joens, Milt Cruver, Committee Member-at-Large Larry Stover, Dave Blauert, Committee President Keith Vogler, Jim Strande, Ray Goff, Committee Member-at-Large Linda Brecher, Geoffrey Ball, Committee Vice President Ron Luce, Committee Secretary Alice Stattman, Ed Martinez, Richard Faust, Terrie Frankel, Committee Treasurer Dave Boily, Pam Van Winkle, Committee Member-at-Large Sam Digiovanni, Sue Jester, Doug Evenson, Joel DeTar, and John E. (C.J.) Lane, Jr. and will perform the ribbon cutting. A bugler is scheduled to play “To the Color” during the ceremony.

After the ribbon cutting, the U.S. flag on the 70-foot pole will be raised, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. The Army, Navy, Marine Corp, Air Force, and Coast Guard service flags will be raised next.

The ceremony will then conclude, and attendees will be thanked for their support.

“I am excited about seeing the first stage. It’s a great bunch of people here. I can’t say I’ve worked with any better. These people are all dedicated and every one of them put in time, money, and work on this project,” said Luce.

He said the Verde Valley has stepped up, and the committee has about a dozen of in-kind donors – individuals and companies – who have given thousands upon thousands of dollars’ worth of free work. The committee has received about $117,000 in donations so far.

“Hopefully we will have a good turn out, and we can give the Valley something to be proud of,” said Luce.

“Recognition of the deep sacrifices of our soldiers is critical for our society and Country. Freedom isn’t free and it’s important we all remember. One of our own officers, Matt Watson, just left us for his forth deployment overseas leaving his family for another year. This memorial serves to honor those like Matt in addition to those that have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country,” said Cottonwood Police Chief Steve Gessell.

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