Supervisors Hear Update On Imperial County Veterans Memorial

Supervisors Hear Update On Imperial County Veterans Memorial

MARIO CONDE

The Imperial County Board of Supervisors heard an update regarding the Imperial County Veterans Memorial at their Tuesday meeting.

The Imperial County Veterans Memorial has been a project that has been on the works for years now thanks the vision of a young, motivated Eagle Scout by the name of Joaquin Villegas. County Board Chairman Mike Kelley asked for an update on the project last week and the update was given by Joaquin’s father, Jesus Villegas.

“It’s a very commendable achievement that your son took upon himself and completing this project.” Supervisor Mike Kelley told Jesus Villegas. “This project will be there for a long time to come.”

Back in 2013, the Board of Supervisors approved the use of a vacant pad on located on the Imperial County Airport adjacent to the Roadway Inn Hotel with frontage onto Airport Road and HWY 86 for construction of a Veterans’ Memorial Monument. This project was proposed by Boy Scout Joaquin Villegas who was doing his Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project back then.

Villegas decided to start this project to become an Eagle Scout since he was inspired by veterans and their service to this country. The aspiring Eagle Scout was part of a flag retiring ceremony and veteran approached Villegas, shook his hand with tears in his eyes, and thanked him for the work the Boy Scouts where doing. That was the reason Villegas started his Eagle Scout project and decided to work on a veteran’s monument.

The project was designed to be an eagle-shaped area covered with brick pavers and concrete sidewalks to integrate the memorial with the existing surrounding infrastructure, and at the same time, offer a unique view to the airborne travelers. The monument itself is a 55-foot wide by 10-foot high by 18-inch thick eagle-shaped black concrete wall with niches to hold 18-inch diameter bronze military insignias of the armed forces; army, navy, marines, air force, coast guard and national guard.

Jesus Villegas informed the board that after a few changes and adjustments to the project, the memorial is set to be completed in the next three weeks. Villegas said that the artificial grass will be installed this week as well as asphalt overlay.

“Compared to the original project, we have added things that were not planned originally but we have been fortunate most of the project has been completed thanks to donations and that has helped us a lot.” Villegas said. “This is a project that the community has supported since it’s for a good cause and that people can see.”

Eagle Scout Villegas is now a 21 year old university student at UC San Diego studying computer science. Jesus Villegas says his son has matured while working on this project that honors veterans.

“Joaquin has developed a deep admiration for veterans and wants to honor their sacrifices for this country. Even when we add more stuff to the monument and more work is added Joaquin moves forward since he believes that at the end people will enjoy the monument and there will be more respect for U.S. Veterans.”

The Imperial County Veterans Memorial is still accepting donations for the final construction phase. If someone wants to give monetary support, they may send their checks payable to “IC Veterans Memorial/American Legion Auxiliary” to I.C. Veterans Memorial P.O. Box 913 Imperial, California 92251. For more information on how to support the project their e-mail address is ic.vets.memorial@gmail.com