Veterans Day "Breakfast with the Vets"

by Placerville Newswire / Nov 10, 2018 / comments

[David Sauvé]
 
Placerville, CA – Veterans Day "Breakfast with the Vets" at the Veterans Memorial Building - 7 AM to 11 AM. 

The members of Camerado Post 10165, VFW, expertly prepare and graciously serve a full menu breakfast ~ $6 for adults,$3 kids. 

On Veterans Day, this Sunday (11/11/18) we will offer a complimentary VFW Poppy to all. 

Come on out for a great breakfast and then head up the hill to the El Dorado County Veterans Monument for their annual Veterans Day ceremony...wear your Poppy! 

All proceeds from the breakfast stay local.

On Sunday, Nov. 11, Veterans Day, the Friends of the Veterans Monument, the El Dorado County Veterans Alliance and members of the community come together at the 13th annual Veterans Day Dedication Ceremony at the El Dorado County Veterans Monument in Placerville.

The Veterans Monument has unique features, history, and a design special to El Dorado County. Many say it’s the most picturesque monument honoring veterans west of the Mississippi River and one of the top five in the entire country. With 10 percent of El Dorado Counties population being veterans, which is the highest percentage per capita in any county in California, the monument has had plenty of support from the start when it began construction in 2005. Its first dedication ceremony was on Veterans Day in 2006. It’s currently estimated that the monument has taken about $1 million to create. That number continues to grow as new statues, memorial features, and other ideas are added to it.

Richard Buchanan, MC-USMC (ret.) 74, of Placerville, is the original founder of the monument. Buchanan served two tours in Vietnam and was awarded the Navy Cross for upholding the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and United States Navy Services. He is a lifetime member of the Disabled American Veterans, a National Commander from 2004 to 2005 of the Legion of Valor of the United States.

“I vowed and made a promise to many I served with that I would do something to remember them. I witnessed bravery, courage, and selfless devotion by those who served around me and they needed to be remembered along with those who have served in other conflicts. I suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) from some of the things I saw in Vietnam. For me, focusing on this monument and it’s construction was therapeutic and cathartic. It helped to ease the PTSD I was struggling with.  I envision the monument serving future generations of military and veterans. That is how it should be.”

Buchanan had the concept for the monument in the 1970s, but nothing ever materialized until the 1990s when he began voicing the idea to those in the community. He then began receiving generous donations and used some of his own money to get the project on it’s feet. Once he met Peter Wolfe, 68, of Placerville, who became the architect of the monument, everything began to come to together.

LCDR Peter Wolfe, USCG (ret.), served as an officer on high-endurance cutters and was awarded the Humanitarian Service Medal for search and rescue and law enforcement. Peter was an architect and building inspector in civilian life and retired in 1998 from the U.S. Coast Guard as a Lieutenant Commander with 22 years of enlisted and commissioned active and reserve service.

“Richard and I met through the Imagination Theater when he brought in his daughters. He had this idea, but was having a hard time getting it off the ground. I was involved in architecture and things began moving. We then got some donations from the county and the spot picked out. In the beginning, I was taking those rough drafts everywhere with Richard to try to raise money,” Wolfe said.

According to the El Dorado County Veterans Monument website, the official purpose of the monument reads as follows. “This monument will be a significant addition to monuments across our nation, and appropriately symbolizes the freedoms, institutions, and way of life that our veterans have gallantly sacrificed to protect.” The site where the monument is located, just east of the El Dorado County government buildings, was chosen because it was public land that was donated. It would also be more easily seen from U.S. Highway 50, and the monument would be easier to maintain on county public land.

William Schultz, 85, of El Dorado Hills is one of the original founders of the monument, the Recorder-Clerk for Registrar of Voters for El Dorado County, and Director of Veterans Affairs for El Dorado County. CPO William “Bill” Schultz U.S. Navy (ret.) Schultz graduated from Aviation Mechanic School in Norman, OK. Schultz served many duty stations in the U.S. and overseas and also served aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise (CVAN-65) from 1966 to 1970 for four separate tours off the coast of Vietnam.

“I remember when Richard and I started the fundraising for the monument so many years ago with a booth at a local restaurant and a group of guys,” Schultz said. “That’s all we were and all the fundraising we started with. The community and local government really stepped up and embraced this project. We expect a big turnout on Veterans Day for the dedication ceremony. Buchanan had the long-term vision to see the location would be even more visible for people traveling on the freeway that passed the monument.”

The monument components include a 114-foot monument wall, which will serve as a base for the American flag. The Monument Plaza seats an estimated 300 people and includes ten additional flag poles honoring our Armed Forces, Veterans Administration, Prisoners of War (POWs), Veterans Organizations, and California. The 112-foot long entrance is graced by a life-sized bronze American eagle and includes the Walk of Honor and the Circle of Honor, where most of the 1,000 engraved bricks honoring our American Veterans are displayed. The Circle of Honor base is an engraved map of the world, calling attention to areas in the world where U.S. armed forces have served the cause of freedom.

The monument has other special aspects that add to its historic significance. For example, there is actual sand from Omaha Beach where the infamous D-Day Battle took place on the beaches Normandy during WWII. At the top of the monument, there are walls that align the flags and form a walkway for observers to see more commemorative bricks and plaques. In these walls medals, patches, and badges from people were dropped into the wall during their construction before the cement and rock were poured over them to forever be a part of the monument. There is also sand from the Vietnam War in the foundational ground of the monument.  One of the unique memorial stones is for a LT. Eusebius Stone, who fought in the French and Indian War in 1758 and served under none other than our very first president, George Washington.

Sierra Monuments, located in Placerville, is responsible for virtually all of the engraving and etching of the stones, bricks, and plaques for the monument. Mike Tilson,73, of Placerville, is the owner of Sierra Monuments.

“We’ve been doing this for the monument since it’s inception and it’s a real pleasure. There are so many stories behind each brick there that are very special. The men did such a great job of designing the monument.”

The Veterans Monument honors both living and deceased veterans that have some kind of association with El Dorado County. As long as the person being celebrated served honorably in defense of the United States they can qualify to be remembered at the monument. A family member can live in El Dorado County and never have served in the military, but have an uncle living in Florida and that uncle can be honored at the monument. The bricks that form parts of the foundation of the monument are how people are remembered and also the main source, along with public donations of the fundraising to maintain the monument and its continuing new features.

Capt. John Poimiroo, 71, of El Dorado Hills, is the Secretary of Treasury for the El Dorado Veterans Alliance and is a part of the Friends of the Veterans Monument group.

“We want to be as inclusive as we can with allowing veterans both deceased and living to be honored at the monument,” Poimiroo said. “As long as there is some kind of connection to El Dorado County we most likely will approve it.”

One of the additions planned for the monument is a statue project dedicated to the theme of “Welcoming Home” veterans from service and conflicts. The statue will be a bronze monument costing approximately $200,000. It will depict a Labrador Retriever running towards a man and woman returning home from service.

“This is one of the largest veterans monument in California. Those returning from the military were not always treated with the respect they deserved. Some were spit on upon returning from the Vietnam War,” Poimiroo said. “We really want to create a project here that will allow for all veterans to visit and remember they are welcomed back to the country with respect and dignity. The man and woman for the statue will have a modernized depiction, with no military affiliation, and be depicted as equals to represent the modern military. It will be one of the only statues that depicts that equality and it’s an honor to help make it happen.”

The Veterans of El Dorado County are responsible for a variety of programs that help their own in the military tradition of “leaving no man behind.” The El Dorado County Veterans Monument-Scholarship Advisory Committee (VMSAC) awards scholarships annually to assist graduating high school seniors who are the sons or daughters of El Dorado County Veterans in the pursuit of a higher education. The Veterans Alliance of El Dorado County and members of the Friends of the Veterans Monument also assist those returning from service who need information and resources to continue their education and work through Folsom Lake College. Another program these El Dorado County veteran organizations support is a “No Veterans Forgotten” program that helps homeless veterans in the county to be honored at the monument.

Gary Campbell, 77, of Cameron Park, was a Technical Sargent (T.S.G.T) in the military who became affiliated with El Dorado Counties Friends of the Monument and Veterans Alliance around six years ago. He is currently the president of both organizations.

“The ceremonies we perform are second to none. We want the public to know about this special place, have it serve as a background for the youth to be educated about the military history, and show the ceremonies off of the public. With respect to the programs we assist with, it’s important we give veterans in the community the resources they need and to make them accessible and transparent.”

The dedication ceremony being held on Veterans Day is going to be a special event for El Dorado County where 1,000 to 2,000 people are expected to attend and it is suggested for those attending to arrive early to assure a good viewing spot.

“It really is one of the finest ceremonies in the country,” Campbell said. “With how many veterans live in El Dorado County, and how supportive this community is, we expect a big turnout. We support veterans throughout the community and because of that the community supports us.”

This year’s ceremony will feature, Col. Kurt Raffetto, USAF (ret.), as the Master of Ceremonies. Raffetto, 53, is a resident of Cameron Park. Some of this year’s special events taking place will be the awarding of the “Veteran of the Year” for El Dorado County. There will be a plaque dedicated to the crew of WWII Mitchell B25D bomber that crashed near Placerville with a Navy traditional half-muffled bell ceremony. Service men and woman who died in action or the line of duty from 1975 to the present will also be honored with half-muffled bell tradition. Onlookers will witness a wreath laying by the family of Sgt. Erick Schenck, who was killed while on duty in Korea last year. Finally, there will be other traditional aspects to the ceremony including five WWII warbirds doing a flyover in formation, the reading of proclamations, patriotic music performed by the Ponderosa High School’s Chorus, and a parade of veterans and youth organizations.

This year the event will be held on Sunday, Nov. 11. Veterans are traditionalists. Veterans Day is always on the 11th day, of the 11th month, of the 11th hour. As a result, the ceremony begins at 11 a.m. and is expected to last approximately one hour on Sunday.

The El Dorado County Veterans Monument is located at 360 Fair Lane, Placerville, CA. 95667 on the east side of the El Dorado County government building A. It’s location is at the corner of Fair Lane and Ray Lawyer Drive.

To learn more about the El Dorado County Veterans Monument visit: http://eldoradocountyveteransmonument.com or call (530) 626-7762

To follow the El Dorado County Veterans Monument  on Facebook visit: https://www.facebook.com/eldorado.vets.monument/

To learn more about the El Dorado County Veterans Alliance and to donate to the monument or the veterans of El Dorado County visit: http://eldoradocountyveterans.org.