River Valley Veterans Raising Money for Memorial
The River Valley Veterans National Cemetery Association wants to build a memorial for fallen soldiers in Fort Smith.
Currently, there is not a memorial for the families of men and women who have served in the area.
“It’s going to be a bronze soldier kneeling in prayer to his fallen comrades with two flags flanking each side of him,” said Robert Craves, president of the River Valley Veterans National Cemetery Association.
“Most of these men and women go unrecognized. And its time that people like me, and other members of the community realize how much they did for us. We do care about them. We do appreciate everything they did, what they fought for and what they stood for,” said Robert Castillo, whose son A.J. was laid to rest in Fort Smith’s National Cemetery.
Castillo also laid his dad to rest just months before A.J. passed away.
“It feels good to walk in here because I know it’s a safe zone for everybody now. They don’t have to compete or fight or worry about something,” said Castillo.
To complete the monument, they need to raise $100 thousand. They’ve raised more than $40 thousand so far.
“It’s a blessing that we’ve made it this far. And we’re real close. We’re about half way to the finish point,” said Cravens.
“It will mean the world to me. It’s hard to explain,” said Castillo.
Before A.J. Castillo passed away, his father showed him the sketch of the monument.
“A.J. got to see it. My father never did get to see it. But A.J. did. When he saw it, it just…he had a tear in his eye when he saw it.”
For Castillo, he said seeing this monument is something that will remind him of everything A.J. did, and all of the lives he saved while serving.
“He left a mark. He really left a mark here. He accomplished a lot of things, and I’m still so very proud of him.”
The monument will be dedicated to all heroes who have served. They’re hoping to have it built by Veterans Day of 2013.
To follow along with the progress of this monument, you can like their Facebook page.
If you would like to make a donation, you can write a check to:
River Valley Veterans NCA
PO Box 5263
Fort Smith, AR 72913