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Volunteer project at Bear Creek Regional Park creates county's first veterans memorial - photos

More than 400 volunteers from Home Depot and its vendors/suppliers joined staff from El Paso County Parks and the Rebuilding Together organization on improvements at Bear Creek Regional Park Sept. 24. Above, in gray shirts, Stephen Ford (manager of the Powers and Woodmen Home Depot) and Elena Knowlton (a department supervisor in that store), work as captains for orange-shirted volunteer teams on landscaping around the El Paso County Veterans Monument, which was created that day at the west end of the parking lot outside the County Parks office building off 21st and Rio Grande streets. Other Home Depot volunteers helped with upgrades at the 10- unit homeless-veteran apartments acquired this year by the Colorado Veterans Resource Coalition at 831 and 903 Fontmore St. The multiple projects were part of an ongoing Home Depot program to support the community through volunteerism and material donations. According to Ford, the monument project "was a lot of fun, and it was great to see so many people coming together on something associated with military recognition."
LEFT: In follow-up work around the Veterans Monument Sept. 25, Randy Smith, a County Parks foreman, cuts pavers to size with a stone-cutting machine (foreground); Mike Morui, a Home Depot manager; uses a machine to compact the pavers (most of them laid the day before); and Josh Hudson, a maintenance technician, assists. Home Depot paid for all the products at the site except the monument itself, which was funded by the county. ABOVE: A work scene in the area of the new memorial Sept. 24.
What looks like a beehive of volunteers works on the area around the County Veterans Monument Sept. 24. According to Jim Tackett, the veteran service officer for the county's Community Services Department, the county hopes to cover its cost for the monument by "selling" the pavers around it to people who can put personal inscriptions on them. The memorial is the first that the county has put in place for veterans, he said. The site was chosen because it is easily accessible yet has a sense of solitude and solemnity, Tackett explained. The memorial area is decorated with planters, benches and three flags (United States, Colorado and POW/MIA). A county press release added that a formal dedication for the monument will be scheduled "at a future date."
LEFT: Volunteers also worked on other parts of Bear Creek Regional Park, including fencing and a rubberized playground surface (in photo), the archery course and horseshoe pits. ABOVE: A close-up of the monument, which honors all the branches of military service.

Westside Pioneer photos
(Posted 9/29/14, updated 9/30/14; Outdoors: City/County Parks)

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