A couple of years ago, the Commander of the VFW Post 2487, Mike Hughes, and the Commander of the American Legion Post 166, Alan Cotta, decided to put into motion something extremely special, a Commemorative Wall of plaques to honor those Veterans that have a connection to Los Banos. The idea had been talked about for years by others within the community; however, nothing manifested. So, the Commanders decided to take matters into their own hands and started the process themselves. This was a huge project that included determining what the plaques would be made of and where to purchase them for the best price and, of course, finding a reasonably priced engraver. The plaques are made of black granite and are approximately 3×9 in size. Another step in the process was to design and construct the wall that the plaques would be mounted on and ensure it could sustain all that weight.
Little did we know that this project was going to have an unexpected delay due to the pandemic and then due to issues with the supply chain. The 500 pieces of cut granite were so close and yet so far. It took just short of two years before the granite would make it to the Central Valley.
During the wait, Veterans from both Posts shared the information about the Commemorative Wall with the community. Family members and close friends were eager to purchase a plaque on behalf of their military loved one. At times, though, this was a challenge. Relatives didn’t know their Veteran’s information that was needed for the plaques. Information such as dates of service, rank, and duty station. Many assumed the local VFW or American Legion could obtain that information; however, these organizations do not have access to those details. Communication is so important between family members and the Veteran. Be sure the loved one knows what a DD214 (Certificate of Release or Discharge) is and where that crucial document is kept. To learn more about the DD214, how to obtain a copy, and why it is important, you can visit this website: https://dd214.us
Commander Hughes and Commander Cotta assembled a team to proof the submission forms before sending the information to the engravers. Once the shipment of plaques arrived at the engravers, everything moved quickly and the completed plaques were ready to be reviewed and mounted onto the wall.
It is with great excitement to announce that 133 plaques have been mounted and are displayed on the outside wall of the Veterans Memorial Hall located at 615 E Street, Los Banos, CA. If you would like to honor your Veteran with a Commemorative Plaque, CLICK HERE. Once there, you can print the order form and then send the completed form with payment to the address listed.