Gov. Brian Sandoval was a featured speaker at the Veterans Day ceremony held at the state veterans home in Boulder City Nov. 11. It’s not the first time he’s been there, done that. But I thought it was of important significance that he told the audience of veterans and families that he intends to make Nevada the nation’s most friendly state for veterans and active duty military.
Some might agree that Nevada is already extremely friendly to those groups, and others I well know feel some things are lacking. But when all is said and done the state does have an active veterans department with offices in the north and south, veterans cemeteries in the north and south, a local veterans home and, as the governor also announced, a veterans home soon to be built in the north. And of course the recently-constructed VA medical center in North Las Vegas and several satellite centers around the area provide medical care.
Some veterans medicine is also provided at the Mike O”Callaghan Federal Hospital located at Nellis Air Force Base, and the base itself provides many services to retired military including BX privileges and other amenities. Pahrump is in line for an expanded VA medical facility, and the town is known for its positive veterans activities. Many of those activities are centered around the local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) post 10054.
Now comes word that a long-planned area veterans memorial may finally have a home. The idea for a memorial honoring all U.S. veterans was brought to the forefront and gained traction several years ago when a Las Vegas based business appeared before the City Council and then-Mayor Oscar Goodman, to propose raising funds, and asking the city to provide a location. A design contest was held and over time a winning work of art was chosen. But location was always a concern. Initially it was to be planted in Huntridge Park, in downtown Las Vegas.
But an influx of criminal activity temporarily closed the park, and the city was asked to find another area for the memorial.
For a while it looked as if it was going to be placed off Las Vegas Boulevard in what is known as the Cultural Corridor, so named because of the many museums and city library there. But it was going to be placed behind an existing building, and would not be fully visible from the street.
Now the latest named location seems to be the charmed one. The Grant Sawyer Building, which houses the governor’s Southern California office and other state offices, has an abundance of room on its grounds and is fenced and guarded by security.
Situated on Washington Ave., it’s just around the corner from the former Cultural Corridor locale. Kat Miller, director of the Nevada Office of Veterans Services which is involved in planning for the memorial, told me she is impressed with the location and feels the attraction will be welcomed by locals and tourists alike.
And the governor must surely be pleased — by the memorial falling right in his back yard, it advances his pledge to make Nevada extremely veteran-friendly.
Like many situations that involve veterans, there will be some Pahrump residents who do not identify with events in Las Vegas. But the massive memorial is meant to include all veterans in Southern Nevada, and as Miller predicts it will actually become an attraction for thousands of Las Vegas tourists annually to honor all state-wide veterans.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) on Homestead Road is planning a Veterans Appreciation Dinner this holiday season. According to Quartermaster Dale Paige, it will be free to all veterans with appropriate I.D. For more information, call the post at (775) 727- 6072.
TAKING A CHANCE
Beginning Dec 1., the VFW post will be offering raffle tickets at $5 each (or five for $20) for a Henry Big Boy .44 Magnum rifle. Only 1,000 tickets will be sold for the firearm, which is a lever-action, 10-round rifle featuring straight-grip American walnut. The post is located at 4651 S. Homestead Road.
Army veteran, journalist and author Chuck N. Baker is a Purple Heart recipient of the Vietnam War, and the host of the “Veterans Reporter Radio Show” each Thursday night on KLAV-AM, 1230 on the dial. It’s also streamed live at www.klav1230am.com.