Brookdale Sunwest site of new veterans memorial park
a�� By Chris Smith / Advisory Editor
A new veterans memorial park was dedicated at Brookdale Sunwest assisted living facility in Hemet with the help of Hemet Elks Lodge 1740 and Home Depot.
The memorial park is also a memorial garden that will allow residents of Brookdale to plant and tend to a garden of their own. Each numbered planter is shared by a small but specific number of people in the retirement community allowing them to maintain a garden as they did when they lived in their own homes. The park also includes a golf putting green and dog park.
Brookdale has some 65 veterans residing there, and the idea for a dedicated garden evolved over a number of months, according to Diana Martinez, an organizer and member of Hemet Elks Lodge 1740. Several of the resident veterans are also members of the Elks Lodge, whose main goal is to provide support to those in the community who need it. The Lodge is a way for people who may not be able to afford large charitable donations on their own to pool their resources and contribute to those less fortunate in a meaningful way.
The effort to build a memorial park was spearheaded by Brookdale resident, veteran, and Elks Lodge member Richard Powell and resulted in the Elks coordinating the project, including licensing and paperwork. Home Depot donated nearly $17,000 in labor and materials to complete it. Workers from Home Depot were crawling over the park garden before and after the dedication ceremony and ribbon cutting Thursday, March 7, and received a big round of applause from the audience of more than 100 Brookdale residents who turned out for the dedication. Home Depot Team Captain Sourin Vanhnaraph had his work force of Home Depot employees going nonstop, it seemed, to complete the project within the time allotted for it, while the Elks were able to chalk up another completed project to support and recognize veterans.