By Mary O’KEEFE
The Two Strike Park Memorial Wall received a helpful boost in fundraising from Assemblymember Mike Gatto and the Home Depot Foundation.
“I had heard about the memorial and wanted to help,” Gatto said. He contacted the Home Depot Foundation. “The corporation is known for its strong support for veterans,” Gatto added.
The foundation agreed to donate $5,000 in gift cards for building materials for the memorial. Gatto added $1,500 from his office to help with the purchase of cinder block materials.
In a ceremony at Two Strike Park on Tuesday, Gatto and Francisco Uribe, Home Depot senior manager of State, Local and International Government Relations, gave the cards to Mike Baldwin, Ken Jury and Warren Spayth. The three are local representatives of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Jury said that when the American Legion and VFW initially began fundraising for the memorial wall several years ago, the funds were difficult to raise due to the economy.
“But we started [fundraising] again and I think we have done so well because of the support from the community,” Baldwin said.
He was referring to several community members who joined together to form the Two Strike Park Memorial Fund. Fundraisers include pancake breakfasts and 5K runs.
The idea to reconstruct the memorial wall at Two Strike Park began when American Legion and VFW members wanted to add names to either the memorial in Montrose at the corner of Honolulu Avenue and Ocean View Boulevard or the older memorial at Two Strike Park. However the Montrose memorial is for Vietnam veterans only and the Two Strike memorial was found to be too small.
“[The idea] really started with Nick Steinbacher,” Baldwin said.
Steinbacher was a Crescenta Valley High School graduate who was the 300th Californian killed in Iraq in 2006. He was 22 years old at the time of his death. His parents and several members of the community wanted to add his name to a local memorial. When the American Legion and VFW members began looking into the possibility of adding on to the Two Strike Park Memorial, they discovered it needed to be rebuilt to today’s codes. So they began looking at the costs.
They found they needed to raise $75,000. Though the amount was daunting, they are now more than halfway to their goal.
For information on the memorial or to donate, visit www.twostrikememorial.org.