EAGAR — Five large granite monuments arrived by truck in Eagar last Thursday, all the way from Ohio. The monuments, one for each branch of the U.S military service, will form the focal point for the White Mountain Veterans Memorial.
Kathleen Davis has been involved with the project from the beginning. She was thrilled to see the monuments finally delivered after a year of work and anticipation.
“We were hoping so much to have it done by Veteran’s Day,” she said. “It always takes longer than you think.”
First steps toward the creation of the memorial were taken in January last year, when the Eagar Town Council approved a location for the memorial on the grounds of the town hall, facing Main Street.
An informal committee has been moving the project forward. The committee includes John Straws, past post commander and executive board member for Springerville American Legion Post 30, Stephen Nicoll, of Arizona Structural Laminators, Steve Hamblin, and Marion Wiltbank. The group managed to raise about $20,000 in donations toward to cost of the memorial, which Davis said will cost a little over $26,000.
Last July, Steve Nicoll, a volunteer and owner of Arizona Log and Timberworks, gathered a group of nine more volunteers and poured the concrete footings needed for the memorial.
Then it became a waiting game, as the group searched for a qualified installer for the momuments. Davis said they thought they had located an installer from Show Low, but then they declined to handle such large items. The monuments are five feet tall, three feet wide, eight inches thick and weigh about 2,500 pounds each.
Then, they couldn’t find anyone who would install them.
Eventually she said she was contacted by a man who was a former employee of Tecstone, the company that the monuments were purchased from in Columbus, Ohio. He works for another company from Columbus, Columbus Memorials, and he agreed to come out to Eagar to install it.
The next step in the construction of the memorial will be the installation of a circular brick pathway. A local Eagle scout candidate, Daniel Peña and his father, Steven Peña, plan to tackle the project for Daniel’s Eagle Scout badge. The pathway will include 150 personalized bricks with the name of a veteran on them Bricks and granite stones in several sizes are available for purchase for installation at the memorial. Anyone may purchase brick to show their support for a veteran in their family, or express their support for our military.
Davis is hoping the monument can be dedicated sometime this spring.