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October 5, 2010 > Green light for veterans' memorial

Green light for veterans' memorial

By Simon Wong

Images courtesy of Castro Valley Veterans' Memorial Committee

Castro Valley will have a memorial honoring veterans and serving members of the nation's six branches of the armed services. Boardmembers of the Hayward Area Recreation and Parks District (HARD), California's largest recreation district, unanimously approved the Castro Valley Veterans Memorial Revised Plan and Castro Valley Community Park Master Plan, which includes the proposed Memorial, on Monday, September 27, 2010.

A community meeting was held in July 2010 to receive public comment about conceptual designs and potential locations which included Castro Valley Community Center and other District parks. HARD staff worked with VFW District 14 Castro Valley Post 9601 to evaluate the community's feedback.

HARD Directors Minane Jameson and Dennis Waspei, staff and a VFW Post 9601 representative visited the proposed site and laid out the Memorial's footprint to assess its size before a work session with members of VFW Post 9601 on September 13, 2010. The Memorial will be built in the Castro Valley Community Park at 18988 Lake Chabot Road, Castro Valley.

The Veteran's Memorial is 35 ft. in diameter and will be positioned in a grassy area below Quail Avenue. An American Flag in the center will be encircled by six black granite "Service Stones" and 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. Final plans, specifications and a Memorandum of Understanding will be drawn up and reviewed by the HARD Board. Veterans will pay for materials and the Memorial's construction. There is no cost to HARD.

Members of the Castro Valley Veterans' Memorial Committee, Michael L. Emerson, Art Benin, Pat Flanagan, Mary Greenlee, John McPartland and Robert "Bob" Pirone, all of whom belong to VFW Post 9601, were delighted by the decision. Jim Uhlik was unable to attend the meeting.

"Castro Valley does not have a veterans' memorial. We worked with HARD for several years to find a suitable location," explained Emerson, the Memorial's designer and project manager. "Castro Valley Community Park was identified about six or seven months ago.'

The project is expected to cost between $75,000 and $80,000. This consists of labor, time and services that many people and companies have readily agreed to donate plus fundraising.

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 which can be ordered and purchased online at

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 at $200 and can be ordered and purchased online at

Six granite benches are being sold for $1,000 each to veterans' organizations such as Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, etc.

Groundbreaking and construction will not begin until the donation target of $75,000 to $80,000 is reached. The project is aiming for completion in spring/early summer 2011 with dedication of the Veterans' Memorial on Flag Day, June 14, 2011.

For more information about the Castro Valley Veterans' Memorial, to request a commemorative brick, Service Stone name engraving or to make a donation without requesting either a brick or engraving, visit or Alternatively, contact Bob Pirone at (510) 418-6311 and For those who do not wish to make their donation online, contact Bob Pirone for an order form and mail checks (payable to "VFW Post 9601-CVVM") to CVVM, 22237 Queen Street, Castro Valley, CA 94546.

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