Community veterans park transformedJul 7, 2017 By Alejandra Silva, Staff Writer
The site has been expanded to include memorial bricks, new flags and a sculpture, with other additions planned.
The Veterans Memorial Park re-dedication ceremony Thursday in Riverton provided a suitable occasion for local community members to note the transformation of the park itself.
New flags, pavement, sponsor bricks and other additions have been structured into the park recently behind Riverton City Hall.
James Arndt, commander of the Veterans Hall and a retired U.S. Army PLT/Sgt., said the group is working on its third order for sponsor bricks, and sales remain open for anybody interested in having a name or business logo displayed at the park.
Eventually, Arndt said, 1,000 bricks will be placed.
"We're happy to see you all come to share part of our dream for this park," Arndt said during Thursday's event.
The dream is not complete until a utility military helicopter sits on display adjacent to the park and can be seen from Federal Boulevard, Arndt told the crowd.
"You never forget that sound of 'wop, wop, wop,'" he said. "That's the sound of going home."
A $20,000 mural also will be added by next year, he continued, explaining that several other pieces of the park are intended to honor veterans and their ongoing or past service.
Riverton Mayor Lars Baker, who was invited to give the welcome speech at the ceremony, said he was impressed by the marvelous job the veterans had done with the park.
"I watched the unfolding," he said. "They had a great vision to bring this together."
They were to be continuously commended for their efforts, Baker said.
Purple heart recipient and U.S. Army veteran Scot Ratliff, guest speaker at the event, also praised the veterans for their work.
When they return from war and become veterans, they continue to find ways to give back and help their communities, he explained.
"If you want something done, you can ask a veteran - they'll help," Ratliff said. "They continue to see what's needed in the community."
After the speakers, the Riverton Chamber of Commerce assisted in a ribbon cutting followed by a retiring and folding of the ceremonial flag. A laying of the wreath, benediction, rifle salute and taps closed the ceremony.
The folded flag was dedicated to the family of veteran Jerry Dick, who has a special brick laid in his honor at the park.
"The park would not be here had it not been for Jerry and his donation," Arndt said.
Brick orders can be made by visiting the Veterans Hall, 611 E. Main St., 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday, or by calling chairman Kent Cook at 851-0793 or 463-0963.