As we remember our veterans today for the service they have given to our country, they continue to give to our communities. The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5059 & Ladies Auxiliary, the American Legion Rex Ish Post 88, and the Disabled American Veterans Chapter 74 have collectively raised $35,000 to ensure that a permanent memorial to honor our community’s veterans is constructed.
A new Veterans Memorial will be constructed as part of the new Public Safety Facility (PSF) at 240 N. Broadway. The memorial was originally budgeted as part of the PSF buildings budget but was identified as a way to reduce costs when funds became limited. Upon learning the project was being proposed for elimination, the veteran organizations offered to partner with the City and raise funds to offset the projected cost. This kind of campaign usually happens through sites like GoFundMe, with people using blog posts like https://www.gofundme.com/c/blog/financial-help-for-veterans to help them build their campaigns. In this case, however, the legwork had been done beforehand.
The projected cost of the memorial is $36,100. This projection includes the masonry, installation of the flag poles, and in-ground fixtures in what will be called Veterans Plaza. Additional items that will be funded through future community donations will be for the actual dedication of bronze plaques, statues, and flags as proposed by the community.
The City of Turlock recognized their contribution by presenting each organization with a proclamation in recognition of their contributions. After reading the proclamation, Mayor John Lazar reiterated that appreciation with a “Thank you very, very much from a grateful community.”
Rosie Elliott, President of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary, expressed her appreciation back saying “Thank you to our family, friends and auxiliary members for working our hamburger booth. And thank all of you for coming to get those hamburgers because without you we could not have donated as much.”
John Elliott, President of the Veterans of Foreign War, seconded his wife’s comments saying, “Thank you to the community for all of your support.”
Gunner Bruce, President of the American Legion, also thanked the community and city staff for the planning and insight to have this memorial included. Bruce drew some laughs from the crowd as he mentioned their fundraising by running the beer booth at the Stanislaus County Fair each year and ended with saying, “Keep coming and we’ll keep donating it back.”