The Redondo Beach Veterans Memorial Task Force is a community based volunteer organization comprised of local veterans and citizens.
The Redondo Beach Veterans Memorial Task Force (RBVMTF) is a community based volunteer organization comprised of local veterans and citizens. (Source: RBVM Website)
In 2003 the Redondo Beach City Recreation and Community Services Department staff and city volunteers organized a Veterans Day event in Veterans Park.
At about this time, Ernie O’Dell, Redondo Beach City Treasurer, noticed that the Veterans Park Rotunda provided a grand entrance to the park, but this grand entrance did not provide access to the park due to a retaining wall and iron railing that prevented access to the park below. He later recommended that access be provided from the Rotunda, with a grand staircase leading directly to the park, and the future site of the new Veterans Memorial.
When presented with the original design for the new Veterans Memorial, the Redondo Beach City Council approved the conceptual design.
Recreation and Parks Director Greg Kind forwarded the conceptual design to Associate City Engineer Quong Dang, who completed the final Veterans Memorial design. The City Council approved this, and the Task Force was organized. The initial proposed cost to construct the new memorial was $250,000. The project languished for some time due to City budget constraints.
The original Veterans Memorial group consisting of John Simpson (Marine), Ernie O’Dell (Army), Chris Meyer (Air Force), Larry Futrell (Navy) and Colonel Felasco Redondo Union High School Jr. ROTC commander (Marine). The group kept the project alive, but there was little progress for some time.
The 2008, City Councilman Chris Cagle recommended that $50,000 be allocated for the Memorial Project. John Simpson, speaking on behalf of the Task Force, accepted the challenge to match that amount in one year. With the addition of Herb Masi (Army) and Peter Dabbieri (Navy) who proved to be the major fundraisers, the Task Force raised over $65,000 in ten months.
At a meeting in early 2008 John Simpson was elected to be the Task Force Chairman, and regular meetings commenced. Bi-weekly meetings have been ongoing, as the cost of the project was more than the fundraising was able to obtain.
A number of professionals offered their talent and expertise on a reduced or no fee basis:
Dallas Covington – General Contractor, Deiter Thomas – Architect, Jim Parker – Electrical Contractor and Terry Banning – Concrete and major construction Contractor, to name a few. Many others volunteered time and money towards its completion.
In 2009 the City Council approved the final plans created by Architect Deiter Thomas, and then issued a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) to the Redondo Beach Veterans Memorial Task Force to fund raise and to Covington Construction to build the memorial.
On Memorial Day 2010 Mayor Mike Gin launched the project with a ceremonial unveiling of a large rendering posted in the park signaling the upcoming Memorial improvements.
On Veterans Day 2010 the Mayor broke ground on the new Memorial site, and 71 days later the City and Task Force celebrated its completion.
After a seven year journey, and over $250,000 raised from contributions, the Redondo Beach Veterans Memorial Task Force and the City of Redondo Beach proudly dedicated the new Veterans Memorial at an extremely well received ceremonial dedication on Memorial Day 2011 with approximately 400 in attendance.
The Veterans Memorial in, Veterans Park Redondo Beach California, signifies countless hours of dedication by community members (according to the RBVMTF brochure). “To place in perpetuity, a memorial honoring all past, present and future veterans of the United States of America”. Ongoing maintenance and cleaning of the memorial will be performed by the Redondo Union High School Junior ROTC cadets now under the leadership of Marine Corps JROTC Commander Keith (Gunner) Willoughby, the Redondo Beach Veterans Memorial Task Force and City park staff.
Redondo Beach Elks Lodge 1378 has provided assistance with several of the Memorial and Veterans Day events, as well as many other donations and personnel assistance. The RBVMTF also wishes to thank the Redondo Beach American Legion Post 184 and VFW chapters for their support.
The Redondo Beach Veterans Memorial Task Force continues to do fundraising via donations to honor loved ones, by offering to the public sponsorship of various components of the memorial. Personalized engraved bricks with up to 54 characters are available at $100. each, other donations from $500 stair riser plaque, $1500 logo, up to $7,000 for one of the five pyramids forming the center of the memorial are available. (Only one left)
Tax deductible Donations are accepted at : WWW.rbveternsmemorial.com
Mailing address Redondo Beach Veterans Memorial Task Force, C/O City Treasurer, 415 Diamond Street, Redondo beach CA 90277, 310-318-0652 Direct Line.
(This input from Ernie O’Dell, City Treasurer) Sept 19, 2011
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