Veterans monument approved
Call it a monumental task that ended in victory for the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Members of the South Lake Tahoe branch of the VFW have been trying for two years to get a Veterans Memorial for South Shore, and it appears that finally their day has come.
On Tuesday, the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors approved a resolution to install a Veterans Monument at South Lake Tahoe – apparently the final hurdle in completing the task.
The memorial was the brainchild of South Lake Tahoe residents Eugene Ross and Bill Kerr, armed services veterans who have resided in South Shore for 10 and 11 years, respectively.
“We were sitting around one day, talking about why there was no memorial here in Tahoe,” said Kerr, who served with the Marines during the Korean War. “Most communities have some sort of a memorial, so we we got together with two other service clubs and got things moving.”
Along with the American Legion and the Marine Corps League, the VFW put together a plan and brought it before city and county agencies. But they soon ran into problems.
“We went around in circles,” said Ross, a former Air Force aircraft mechanic who served in Thailand and Vietnam during the Vietnam War. “There were property rights issues, environmental issues; a lot of stuff to overcome.”
“We found one spot near (Lake Tahoe), but the TRPA said we couldn’t have it on the same side of Highway 50 as the lake,” Kerr said. “So we moved it across the street.”
A spot was finally found adjacent to U.S. Highway 50, near Rufus Allen Boulevard. The monument will be an eight-feet high by five-feet wide granite block with a bronze plaque.
Several local businesses and organizations chipped in to pay for the monument, which will honor “All veterans, dead or alive, from all wars,” according to Ross – the commander of VFW Post 2627.
The VFW has secured approval from the county, the city of South Lake Tahoe, and the TRPA. They were even issued a free building permit.
Fifth District Supervisor Dave Solaro presented the resolution for the County Board’s approval on Tuesday.
Students from Lake Tahoe Community College will cast the plaque and write the inscription. There will also be a time capsule buried beneath the monument, stuffed with photos and other items donated by the community.
The monument will be dedicated on Memorial Day – May 31 – in a ceremony to be hosted by the VFW and other South Lake Tahoe veterans organizations. A number of luminaries have been invited, including Governor Gray Davis (there has been no word yet as to whether he will attend).
“We’d just like to thank everyone who helped out,” said Kerr. “It was a real community effort.”
With a big push from the Air Force and the Marines.
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