Members of American Legion Post 2001 of Evergreen celebrated Veterans Day on Saturday, Nov. 12, by dedicating the walkway of brick pavers engraved with the names of those who have served the country's armed forces.
About 75 people turned out to witness completion of the final phase of a building process that began when legion members decided to build the Veterans and Service Members Commemorative Walk in 2007 in Buchanan Park.
"This belongs to every one of you guys to visit, enjoy or make recommendations," said Commander Scott Coffer of the American Legion Post.
Seven legion members marched in unison to the front of the crowd and gave a traditional 21-gun salute. Dave Rommelmann played "Taps."
The Commemorative Walk consists of a native black granite monument supporting three flagpoles. Eight smaller stone monuments mark eight major conflicts, beginning with World War I.
The monument was conceived as a way to pay tribute to the heroic men and women who served or died defending America. Money to build the monument comes from private donations, fund-raisers and the sale of brick pavers.
Among the attendees were Jason Arrey and his cousin, Rebecca Scott, of Evergreen who purchased a paver in honor of their grandfather, Richard Favinger, a Marine Raider who served as a medic in the Pacific from 1941 to 1946. Favinger was a resident of Elk Run Assisted Living in Evergreen before he died at 92.
"He was known for the way he was able to give dignity and honor to the other residents," Scott said. "We are very glad to have this place where we can come and remember him.”
Favinger's daughter Jena Sippach of Anaheim, Calif., planted an American flag next to his brick in the walkway. Favinger had been buried earlier in the day at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver.
Larry Madden of Evergreen was there to see the paver for his brother Brian Madden, who died two years ago in Long Island, N.Y. He served in the Army Reserves in the Vietnam era. "He was the first of five brothers to go," Madden said.
Part of the funds to pay for the monument come from the sale of engraved brick pavers. Pavers and companion souvenir pavers cost $125 and $50, respectively, and are still for sale.
Last year the pavers were still in storage awaiting installation. This year the semi-circular path has been laid out and 1,000 bricks embedded in the space in front of the black granite memorial in Buchanan Park. So far, about 200 pavers have been engraved and placed in the walkway.
At Saturday's gathering, Commander Scott Coffer gave a tribute to former Commander Bruce Fifer, who was credited with doing much of the work involved in bringing the memorial from concept to reality. "He made the veterans walk possible. We would not have broken ground without him."
Saunders Construction donated much of the concrete used to build the wall.
"I set the schedule, and I never backed off the concrete," Fifer said, referring to the concrete pour done in freezing weather.
Professional historian John Steinle, administrator of the Hiwan Homestead Museum, said he was thinking about buying a paver for an ancestor, Robert Anderson, who was a soldier in the Battle of Lake Erie in 1813.
Someone else commissioned a paver in honor of a soldier who fought in the Revolutionary War from 1777 to 1780. According to the engraving, Sam Cone was an enlisted man, an "artificer (mechanic) and engineer."
For information on how to purchase pavers call Don Trickel, 303-674-5443.
Contact Vicky Gits at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-350-1042.