Phase 1 of Military Service Park underway
Officials break ground, express gratitude for veterans
COTTONWOOD - Phase 1 of construction is underway after organizers broke ground Wednesday for the Verde Valley Military Service Park at Cottonwood's Garrison Park at 39 Brian Mickelsen Pkwy. Planning for the Park has taken over a year and half.
The Park's mission is to honor military veterans of the United States of America who currently live in the Verde Valley, have lived in the Verde Valley, or have Verde Valley connections and have honorably served their country.
Mayor Diane Joens welcomed guests to the opening. She said the park was not just for Cottonwood, but for all of the Verde Valley. Joens said the park is for remembrance, not just for the deceased, but for all veterans.
The location of the Park was selected purposefully, and Joens said that it is close to the schools so students can come and learn about our country.
Papa Dave Treadwell, who gave the blessing at the ceremony, described the Park as a place where everyone who has served can reflect and reconnect.
"It's another example of the value that this community places on people who make the world better, who protect our way of life and quality of life," said Cottonwood Police Chief Steve Gesell.
Gesell said that the number of volunteer hours dedicated to the Park are indicative of the compassion and pride that the community has for residents who have served our country.
A backhoe, not a shovel was used to take the first bite of earth. Spokesman Ron Luce, Commander of the VFW, explained that an 8-foot deep hole is necessary to anchor the massive pole for the 75-foot-tall stars and stripes. The US flag will be in the centerpiece of an array of five flags of military service groups in a 20-foot diameter circle at the Park.
Jim Iacovacci of Law Enforcement Creations explained that the concrete takes about 2-3 weeks to cure before the flagpole can be erected. The official flag rising ceremony and ribbon cutting will take place on Veteran's Day, Nov.11.
"Lots of families in the Verde Valley are military families," said Luce. "Veterans have a soft spot in my heart."
"When you sign your name on the dotted line, and you put on that uniform, you put your lives on the line for us," said Terrie Frankel, a supporter of veterans and veteran causes.
Veteran John Maddox said that construction of the Park is such an honor to everyone who has served.
"It means a lot to me," he said.
"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," states the Park's website.