EL CENTRO, Calif. – Imperial Valley veterans service officer Robert Avila walks around the site of the new El Centro Veterans Memorial at Bucklin Park. “Memorials are very important so we can recognize the sacrifice that veterans have done for the country,” Avila said.
A ground-breaking ceremony will be held Tuesday. “City of El Centro is now doing its part to help the veterans,” Avila said.
A five-sided granite block will represent the five branches of the armed services. “These memorials are so important to help us remember that we need to reach out to the veterans,” Avila said.
Vietnam veteran Edward Castillo-Rubio said there are many vets in the area. “Seven -thousand-five-hundred was the last official projection a few years back when they opened the V.A. clinic down here – that was the figure that we used,” Castillo-Rubio said. He says some vets return with various needs. “Many veterans came home and just held in a lot of negative feelings and it cost a lot of heartbreak,” Castillo-Rubio said.
He says a memorial can have a healing effect on them. “If you can identify with a monument that reflects that you were part of something big something greater than yourself and that you participated for this country,” Castillo-Rubio said.
Avila says the memorial can be a reminder for vets that help is available to them. “Whenever you meet a veteran, we should all say, hey have you been down to the veterans service office?” Avila said. The local veterans office can help vets with their medical, educational and housing benefits.
“There are several services available to them, a lot of benefits that they’ve earned by serving,” Avila said.
“We have a lot of veterans from all wars,” Castillo-Rubio said.
Castillo-Rubio hopes this memorial will help many vets feel proud of their service to their country.