Volunteers work to complete Veterans Memorial Plaza
In City Speak
March 28, 2015 at 1:32 p.m.
About 30 volunteers gathered Saturday to help prepare a Veterans Memorial Plaza at Teague Park for visitors.
“We won't be quite ready for Memorial Day, but we will be by Fourth of July,” said Richard Jurkowski, executive director of the Veterans Recognition Foundation. “What we are doing as we are working with the city now and the Fourth of July motorcycle parade will begin here at our park.”
Jurkowski said about two-thirds of the volunteers were veterans themselves.
“We cleaned up a bunch of brush that was in the way where we are going to landscape around the Vietnam Memorial Wall,” he said. “We have already cleared the other side of the spillway all the way up to Highway 80. We are trying to get all the brush out on the side. It will cut back on the wild animals and undesirable trespassers and it will also give us visibility from the highway.”
Henry Kroll, a brick mason by trade, gave his time to help put decorative touches on some of the monuments now lining the pond at the city of Longview park.
“My father was of a vet,” Kroll said. “I'm surprised the donations that they got for this place, and I think it's kind of cool that there is a wall over here in Longview. It kind of brings a little bit of attention.”
The plaza will include a host of monuments, including a 288-foot scale replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall, on 2 acres at Teague Park, just west of the park’s lake.
The group also plans to build a MIA/POW memorial, a Wall of Tears for those who have died in combat and monuments for World War I and II, the Korean War, Gulf War, Iraq War, Afghanistan War, women in combat and more.
The group took a proposal to the city’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Board in mid-September to place the memorial in Flewellen Park on Judson Road, but the proposal was too large for the area, so it was redesigned for Teague Park.
On Oct. 28, the parks board approved the plan.
The City Council approved the use of park land in November and a dedication was held in December.
Shawn Gross said he heard about the workday through friends who were veterans.
“I thought I would donate a little of my time to society,” he said. “Look what they did for us.”