A special Flag Day dedication will be held at 10 a.m., June 14 at the Ahwahnee Hills Regional Park on Highway 49 with the raising of the five service flags by area veterans from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard.
The public is invited to attend the dedication that will include the Marine Rifle Detail from Lemoore Naval Air Station.
The original “Veterans For Veterans” Memorial at the park with the American flag and a POW/MIA flag on a single pole, was dedicated to J.R. Froelich during a July 30, 2016 dedication.
A plaque on a marble pedestal and walkway were also part of the memorial. The dedication was hosted by the nonprofit Friends of the Ahwahnee Hills Regional Park, Marine Corps League Griswold Mountain Detachment 1121, Caring Vets, Inc., and the 41-49 Chapter of E. Clampus Vitus.
The late Froelich, who was one of the individuals who had the idea for the project to honor veterans, joined the U.S. Navy in 1967, serving two tours in Vietnam, and was a frequent contributor to the Sierra Star.
After discussions between the Ahwahnee Hills Regional Park Board of Directors and the Marine Corp League Griswold Mountain Detachment 1121, and VFW Post 8743, it was decided that as great as the initial memorial was, some additions could be made to the memorial.
In addition to the new flag poles being installed, a 90-foot cement circle to hold the five service flags has been added, along with five benches and a wheel chair ramp. The new flags were ordered after community donations were made and each will have its own solar light and eagle on top of the pole.
“The community and veterans have been very generous and helpful with this project,” said Ralph Capone, Marine Corps League Chairman. “This is a big project and what started with the idea of adding the service flags has grown many times. We are looking forward to the dedication at 10 a.m. on June 14 and invite the community to join us.”
After 20 years of discussion between the citizens of Ahwahnee with Madera County and state officials, more than 3,000 volunteers hours, and more than $2 million in federal and state grants, the park first opened to the public on March 15, 2014.
The park, with walking trails, barbecues, 25 picnic tables and handicap accessible restrooms, is open during the summer from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and during the winter from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed on Monday and Tuesday).
Detail: Marine Corp League Chairman Ralph Capone, (559) 642-6033, Friends of the Ahwahnee Hills Regional Park, Fern Facchino, (559) 683-0408.