It took more than six years of planning, thousands of donations and volunteer hours, and the use of a local crane, but the eagle has landed in downtown Castle Rock.
Weighing in at 900 pounds, the bronze eagle, sculpted by Bill Hueg of Westminster, is wrapped in an American Flag and perched atop a globe. On June 4, with the guidance of three men, it was placed carefully on to a granite-coated steel and concrete base to complete the $170,000 Douglas County Veterans Monument.
“Six years, I’ve been waiting for this day,” said World War II veteran Lou Zoghby, a longtime member of the monument foundation’s board of directors. “This is for all the veterans past, present and future in the entire county. … What better symbol to depict all of our different branches of service than the eagle.”
The six-sided monument, at the southwest corner of Wilcox and Fourth streets, is embossed with all six U.S. military seals, recognizing the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, Merchant Marines and Navy.
There are also two plaques on the monument; one of which honors those killed in action and reads, “In honor and respect for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country. You will always be remembered.”
“When we picked this design out of the 14 designs that were submitted, we picked it from a sketch and little did I realize what it would look like in its full 3D form,” said Henry Bohne, a four-year Korean War veteran and chairman of the foundation board. “There are so many feelings. I just can’t put it into words.”
Bohne estimates that there are between 28,000 and 30,000 veterans living in Douglas County today, about 10,000 more veterans than there were citizens in the county when he moved to Parker in 1978. The monument, he said, is for all of them.
But if it wasn’t for the donations received it never would have been possible, he said. With only a handful of donations that came in at more than $1,000, it was the smaller donations and citizens such as South Ridge Elementary School sixth-grader Jaydon Pinon — who raised $526 selling chocolate bars — that saw the project through to fruition.
And don’t think just because the mission has been accomplished, the Douglas County Veterans Memorial Foundation is ready to break up the band. The foundation will host its second annual poker run June 30 and raffle off a Harley Davidson motorcycle valued at $21,000.
“We want to do some philanthropic things,” said Vietnam veteran and board member Bob Rotruck. “If a veteran needs help with his house, or needs a service dog, or we can do a scholarship for his kids. We’re not done just because the sculpture is up.”
For more information about the poker run or the foundation, please visit the website at www.dcvmf.org. There will be a formal dedication at 10 a.m. Aug. 3 on site.