Drivers will soon spot a permanent salute to veterans as they pass the heavily traveled corner of Highway 41 and Road 415 in Coarsegold - the site of a future monument featuring the seals of the five branches of the U.S. Armed Forces: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard, with donor names and organizations listed on the back.
With its donation of $15,000 to the Caring Veterans of America, Inc. (CVA), Lithia Nissan of Fresno funded the majority of the project’s costs.
“We’re grateful for Lithia Automotive Group’s help in making this dream a reality,” said CVA Commander Terry Cole. “We feel this monument is long overdue recognition of the bravery and sacrifices made by Fresno area veterans and their families.”
A groundbreaking ceremony took place before a crowd of about 75.
Attendees included Madera County District 5 Supervisor Tom Wheeler, Madera County District Attorney David Linn, U.S. Army Two-Star General Keith Jones (Ret.), Lt. Colonel David Hall, and Lithia representatives.
The granite monument, to be installed in Coarsegold Historic Village on land donated by Diane and Richard Boland, has been in the planning stages since the beginning of the year, and is expected to be completed by Sept. 1.
It will face Highway 41 for ideal viewing by traffic entering Coarsegold heading north. An easily accessible sidewalk from the parking lot to the monument is also planned.
“We’ve got a lot of monuments around, but I think this one is extra special because it represents all arms of the service,” Wheeler said. “They’ve been working on this a long time and I’m grateful that the Bolands decided to donate this corner.”
Before Cole approached them with this project, the Bolands said they had been struggling with exactly what it was they wanted to put at that corner for quite some time.
Master Sergeant Bob Wood, a Coarsegold resident and member of the 1106 Theater Aviation, stationed in Fresno along with Hall, expressed his appreciation for how active CVA and Cole are within the community, and the great job they’re doing.
With heads bowed, Joe Dowell prayed that God bless all those deployed and their families, and that this monument be peaceful to all those who come upon it.
Because of the total estimated price tag of $20,000, in addition to upkeep costs, donations are still being accepted.
Caring Veterans of America, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit providing support to military veterans in need and their families, including assistance with Veterans Administration benefits. The organization coordinates with other like minded organizations, government entities and local communities to promote patriotism and humanitarian endeavors.
To donate: CVA, Inc., P.O. Box 202, Oakhurst 93644.