By Timithie NORMAN
A five-year campaign to raise money to update the war memorial at Two Strike Park in La Crescenta is gaining momentum, with the fund at 50% of its $70,000 goal and the hope to begin construction by the close of 2012.
The campaign originated in 2005 with local American Legion Post 288 and VFW Post 1614 and a need to repair and update the current war memorial at Two Strike Park, which was installed in 1959.
“The economy took a turn just when the effort started,” explained Ken Jury, the local Legion Post Commander. “This year we made a big push and it paid off.”
In September 2011 a committee was formed by Lt. Col. David Worley to organize and expand the fundraising effort for the new memorial. As a result, organizations including the Crescenta Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Montrose Verdugo City Chamber, the CV Town Council, students of Crescenta Valley High School, Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation, and others have joined forces to raise funds and awareness of the project.
“The project is definitely a collaboration and we are still working hard on it,” said Steve Pierce of the CV Town Council. “It s a great project – it will recognize every service person from CV who gave their life during the wars, all the way back to the early days.”
The VFW and American Legion have gathered 38 names to date of local men and woman who have been killed in action from World War I to the present, though they are requesting the names and information of any others to be included in the new memorial. As a guide, residents of the Crescenta Valley High School district will be included.
Roy Allmon, a member of the VFW and American Legion, helped design the new memorial, which will replace the currently crumbling stone wall at Two Strike Park as well as add two stone wings, both of which will display plaques bearing the names of locals killed in action.
“The design was a group effort,” he said. “The original plaque will go right back up in the middle, with the addition of a marble header reading ‘heroes of freedom.’”
Two new flagpoles, which have been donated, will fly the United States, State of California, County of Los Angeles and POW-MIA flags and will be consistently illuminated from below. The two new stone walls will each bear a plaque with veterans’ names.
“It is important that we don’t forget those people who have served our country,” said Lynn McGuinness, the local VFW Post Commander. “We hope we don’t have to add any more names.”
The committee has a meeting with representatives from Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation on Monday to discuss the details of the project and determine how the County can support it through assistance with the tear down and installation.
Meanwhile, the fundraising continues.
A community bingo night is planned for 6 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 17 in Healy Hall at Holy Redeemer Church, and the committee is accepting donations via PayPal on its website at twostrikememorial.org.
“My gut feeling is we will get a lot of support from organizations and the community to help complete this,” Pierce said. “I would be surprised if we were not ready by the end of the year.”