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December 21, 2010 > Help complete the veterans' memorial

Help complete the veterans' memorial

By Simon Wong
Photo by Neal Golding, Northern California Corvette Association

Fundraising for the Castro Valley Veterans' Memorial is underway, following Hayward Area Recreation and Parks District's (HARD) approval of the Castro Valley Veterans' Memorial Revised Plan and Castro Valley Community Park Master Plan, which includes the proposed Memorial, in late September 2010. The Memorial, which will be built in Castro Valley Community Park at 18988 Lake Chabot Road, will honor veterans and serving members of the nation's six branches of the armed services.

The Veterans' Memorial, 35 ft. in diameter, will be located in a grassy area below Quail Avenue. An American Flag in the center will be encircled by six black granite "Service Stones" illuminated by lights within a seat-wall without impacting neighbors. Statues just beyond the periphery of the circle flank the entrance to the site. Visitors will see them clearly as they enter and approach a black, granite "Entry Stone" set on a plinth. Veterans will pay for materials and the Memorial's construction. There is no cost to HARD.

Veterans, civilians, companies, groups and organizations may purchase an unlimited number of "commemorative bricks" at $100 per brick. They will be arranged on the outer edge of the Memorial's base. Each has up to three lines with 14 characters/spaces per line (including blank spaces and punctuation). The Memorial will accommodate a maximum of 720 commemorative bricks.

Each Service Stone represents a branch of the military (Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Air Force and Merchant Marines). Only veterans may have their names engraved on the back of their Service Stone which has room for 99 engravings. Names of loved ones or friends who are, or were, veterans are also accepted. Each name has a maximum length of 20 characters, (including blank spaces and punctuation) which will be an inch in height and in capital letters. An engraving is available for $200.

Six granite benches have been sold for $1,000 each - four to veterans' organizations and two to non-veterans' groups which donated so the benches could be "named" for a veterans' organization. On December 14, 2010, the Northern California Corvette Association (NCCA) presented $1,000 to Castro Valley Veterans' Memorial Committee members Michael L. Emerson and Pat Flanagan, Commander of VFW District 14 Castro Valley Post 9601, to purchase the last bench.

"One check is for $600 from the NCCA Foundation and another for $400, is directly from the NCCA which is based in Castro Valley and has 150 members many of whom are veterans or have a family member in the services. Since NCCA's incorporation in May 1957, proceeds from races and car shows have helped fund the Foundation's donations of thousands of dollars to projects and local charities, such as food banks and battered women's shelters," explained NCCA President Ken Rabello, a Vietnam-era Warrant Officer, US Army Intelligence ('65-'78).

"One of our members brought the Veterans' Memorial project to our attention. We visited the project's website, www.CVVM.info, word spread among our members and we contacted Michael L. Emerson who explained how we could be involved. Only one remembrance bench remained. Two weeks later, our Executive Board and membership voted to donate $1,000 to secure it."

The project is expected to cost almost $80,000. This consists of donations in-kind and financial donations. So far, $20,000 has been raised. Groundbreaking and construction will not begin until the $80,000 target is reached.

"Everyone connected with the project has already purchased. Veterans, their families and friends in Hayward, Fremont, Pleasanton, San Leandro and Castro Valley have shown interest; we hope the community will show its support and help us achieve our goals. Castro Valley does not have a veterans' memorial. Having a name engraved in perpetuity, and for posterity, would make the ideal gift for a grandparent and educate the great-grandchildren," said Emerson.

"The administrative process was completed when HARD gave its approval in September. We've an agreement to complete this project. The Memorial will be built even if it takes five years to raise the necessary funding but we'd prefer to do so, on schedule, in 2011 and dedicate it on November 11, Veterans' Day.

"Everyone has a sibling or friend who's served. Companies can buy a brick for employees, both civilian and military. While this is a memorial to veterans, individuals commemorated on bricks need not have a service background. Interested parties may apply online via the website and pay with Paypal or download an order form and mail it with a check," explained Emerson.

For more information about the Castro Valley Veterans' Memorial, to request a commemorative brick, Service Stone name engraving or simply to make a donation, visit www.CVVM.info. Alternatively, contact Bob Pirone at (510) 418-6311 and RobertPirone@sbcglobal.net.

For those who do not wish to order or donate online, either download an order form at www.CVVM.info or contact Bob Pirone for a form and mail checks (payable to "VFW Post 9601-CVVM") to CVVM, 22237 Queen Street, Castro Valley, CA 94546.

For more information about the Northern California Corvette Association, to donate or join, visit www.NCCACorvettes.org.

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