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 veterans who have a connection to Los Banos.
The idea had been talked about for years from 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, how to find a reasonably priced engraver.
They decided to have the plaques made of black granite and approximately 3” x 9” in size. Another step in the process was to design and construct the wall that the plaques would be mounted on to ensure it could sustain all that weight.
Little did the Los Banos veterans 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 the veterans’ information needed for the plaques, information such as dates of service, rank and duty station. Many assumed the local VFW or American Legion could obtain it; however, these organizations do not have access to that information.
Communication is so important between family members and the veteran. Be sure the loved one knows what is a DD214 (the Certificate of Release or Discharge) and where that crucial document is located. 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 & 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 that the Los Banos Veterans announce that 133 plaques have been mounted and are displayed on the outside wall of the Veterans Memorial Hall located at 615 E Street in Los Banos.
If you would like to honor your veteran with a commemorative plaque, you can visit our website at: losbanosveterans.org. Once there, you can print and complete the form and send with payment to the address listed on the form.