The community-funded Fallen Veterans Memorial is finally taking shape, as the base and back panel are now complete.
It’s the front panel with all of the names that are leaving the project at a standstill.
Bill Reynolds, The Signal’s Director of Veterans Affairs and the person who spearheaded the project, has requested that the monument be completed by the end of June in time for the Independence Day Parade.
No date has been set from the city, as they are still waiting to find a list of World War I names Councilmember Laurene Weste heard was compiled by the women’s auxiliary.
“We are diligently looking through historical records,” Weste said.
Project manager Julia Regan said as soon as WWI names are vetted, the project can be completed.
“The work itself shouldn’t take long,” Regan said. “Once we have the names, it can move forward.”
Plans for the city-funded pergola have not yet gone into effect, as it must be built in conjunction with the monument itself, she said.
“We’re making progress on construction plans at this time,” Regan said.
As soon as the monument company, Picture This On Granite, gets the green light to finish engraving the monument, it can be placed in Veterans Plaza in five weeks, three to make and two to ship, Reynolds said.
After a meeting with Regan and Wayne Webber of Parks and Recreation, Reynolds said he was confident the project was on the right track.
“It was one of the best meetings I had with the city,” Reynolds said. “I left feeling confident that the city was serious about this project.”
Reynolds has gone on a long hunt for these World War I names. The Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’ genealogist, Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder, California State Archives, California State Library and a World War 1 museum in Kansas have all gotten calls and Ancestry.com has been checked in search of Santa Clarita Valley fallen warriors, Reynolds said.
Many groups cannot narrow down residency more specifically than Los Angeles County, and others cannot differentiate between those who served and those killed in battle.
“We’ve gone to every entity imaginable and come up with nothing,” Reynolds said. “In my opinion, we’ve exhausted every known avenue.”
Reynolds reiterated that the phrase “Honoring all known and unknown Santa Clarita Valley residents who perished since WWI” will be featured on the monument, whether or not any names from WWI are found.
Currently, Picture This On Granite has half of the money as down payment for the granite and will receive the rest upon completion of the monument. Funding donated by over 180 community members, about $56,000, is currently being held in the Bank of Santa Clarita.
The monument itself will cost about $52,000, so the extra $4,000 donated will be given to the city for site work and supplies.
“Anything donated to the monument will go toward the monument,” Reynolds said.
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