Photo by Jennifer Alonzo
A ground breaking ceremony will be held at the Faith Hinkley Veterans Memorial Park on Saturday.
MONTE VISTA—When Spc. Faith Hinkley fell in combat Aug. 7, 2010, wheels were set in motion for a new memorial park in Monte Vista.
The U.S. Army gave Faith a posthumous promotion to sergeant, but more was necessary.
The community was still reeling from the death of Sgt. Glen Martinez on May 2, 2008, as the entire San Luis Valley mourned. Martinez had been memorialized at the pavilion in Chapman Park, so the question arose as to how Hinkley would be remembered.
While it may seem that the wheels moved slowly, many individuals, organizations and entities began planning and working. Organizer Bob Bryning said planning for the park went slowly for a while, then funds began coming in.
Faith’s parents, David and Annavee Hinkley joined Glen’s parents, Ron and Carol Martinez in the project, which will not only honor their children, but fallen troops from the entire area.
A land swap between the city of Monte Vista and the school district kicked open the door, as the community acquired a tract of land on First Ave. and Broadway just east of Bill Metz Elementary School, and planning began on what was to become the Faith Hinkley Veterans Memorial Park.
Bryning, himself a veteran, explains that, while Martinez was a Marine and Hinkley was in the Army, stones and flags will be placed, honoring each branch of the U.S. military.
Historian Jane Rhett has been researching death and burial records to learn more about the fallen from all wars.
Sod was laid this week, and groundbreaking for the Faith Hinkley Memorial and Veterans Park will be at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, June 14, at the corner east of Bill Metz Elementary School with music by The SLV Big Band.
Posting of the colors and the National Anthem will be at 5 p.m., followed by introduction of distinguished guests and the history of the memorial and park at 5:15 p.m. Guest speakers will take the podium at 5:45 p.m.
The centerpiece will be a unifying stone honoring the fallen from all five branches, while the stone to its left will honor Hinkley and the one to the right will remember Martinez.
The stones will face the entrance gate on Broadway, about one-half way down the park, which will also serve as a welcome center for visitors to the community, with picnic tables and access to the Bill Metz playground when school is not in session.
When finished, the park will have cost an estimated $500,000
Also kicking in funds and assistance are the Elks Lodge, veterans’ organizations and Rio Grande Savings and Loan.
To make donations, the public is encouraged to donate via PayPal through mvrallyinthevalley.org or by calling Bryning at 850-1994. Donors contributing $250 or more will receive special recognition at the park, Bryning said, and signage will let the passing public know the reason for the memorial.
Individuals and families wishing to honor special veterans may purchase memorial pavers, benches, flagpoles and trees, all to be located within the park.
A $5,000 poker run is planned the same day as part of the annual Rally in the Valley at 4 p.m. Saturday, June 14. The landscaping should be in place by then, along with flagpoles bearing the United States, Colorado and POW-MIA flags.
To learn more and see preliminary designs, visit www.cityofmontevista.com.For the complete article see the 06-12-2014 issue.