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Dog park is fitting salute to service, sacrifice

Marine Cpl. David Sonka was Chaparral grad killed in line of duty


A long-anticipated project is finally ready to be enjoyed, but officials who dedicated the USMC Cpl. David M. Sonka Dog Park on June 14 want Parker's many dog lovers to think about the sacrifice that led to the park's name.

“For every person who comes here with their dog, my hope is that they will just take a little time to appreciate David's sacrifice for our country,” said USMC Master Gunnery Sgt. John Alen. “What better tribute to David and his legacy than a dog park?”

Sonka was a canine trainer with the United States Marine Corps, known for treating his four-legged trainees with patience and compassion, even to the point of sleeping next to them to provide comfort. Sonka and his Multi-Purpose Canine, Flex, were killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan in May 2013, but David's father Kevin said the park, located at 17855 Pine Lane near E-470, will allow his son's name, and legacy, to live on.

He wants “people to enjoy it,” he said. “For people to read the signage and recognize who David was and just never forget … Every town that has a hero like David, they should be doing something like this.”

About 200 people, and more than 40 dogs, attended the dedication, which was followed by a ribbon cutting for a disc golf course, adjacent to the north side of the fenced-in dog park.

To honor his son's memory and give back to the community of military personnel, Kevin started the Rocky Mountain Dawgs Project, a nonprofit that provides barbecues and support services to military kennels and members of the military's canine units in the United States.

Antonio Rodriguez, a 20-year military veteran who trained dogs for the Denver Police Department, lives in the apartment complex adjacent to the park.

“I see it being a real contribution of service … (David) contributed a lot to the morale of all the K9 military,” Rodriguez said. “I'm glad it's in the city of Parker, I think it'll be well taken care of.”


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