Saturday, June 19, 2021

East Hope to host Memorial Wall dedication May 31

Staff Writer | May 21, 2021 1:00 AM

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The city of East Hope will hold a dedication for its Veteran Memorial Wall at 1 p.m. Memorial Day at the East Hope City Park across from Davis Market & Cafe.

City officials first began discussing plans for a memorial wall three years ago, said city Treasurer Christy Franck.

The project began after a longtime resident donated money for beautification, she said. Several council members had family in the military, or had served themself, and wanted something to pay tribute to veterans.

“We started putting out information in our monthly newsletter and it seemed really well-received,” Franck said. “We had the initial donation of $5,000 and then the Bonner County Garden Association donated $2,000 toward the pavers that lead to the wall.”

The structure was a labor of love from numerous community members, said Deborah Field, council president.

“So many people were donating, citizens, businesses, a landscape architect,” she said. “[It’s] just wonderful community involvement.”

Much of the labor was donated, she said, including by the mayor and council members. Now completed, plaques on the wall can be purchased for any honorably discharged veteran for $125 each, which roughly covers the cost of the plaques.

Currently, there are 58 plaques on the wall, with at least seven more ordered, Franck said.

As those plaques have been added, Field said, the public has begun to notice. One young woman stopped in, excited for the new memorial, and bought one for her father.

“She said, ‘It’s my dad’s birthday and I really didn’t know what to get him. And this is the perfect thing,’” Field said.

The wall also isn’t just for residents of East Hope, she said. Anyone living between the Montana border and Pack River is eligible to have their name added to a plaque or have a friend or family member’s name added.

The memorial dedication and flag raising will be run by the Clark Fork Veterans of Foriegn Wars, with a few individuals doing musical performances and one local man whose name was added to the wall doing a speech.

The wall is also part of a larger project for the park, which is still being completed. Residents also recently donated roughly $10,000, enough for a playground. The final vision for the park includes a grassy area and tables, with the Veteran Memorial and David Thompson monument bookending the space.

“[Members of the public] were excited to see those names,” Franck said. “It incited a little more pride in our community.”