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San Bernardino Mountains Land Trust
Nonprofit Organization 501(C)(3)
Tax ID # 33-0700417                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

SBMLT in the News

Press Coverage

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Friday, Nov 18, 2016

By Rhea-Frances Tetley

American Legion Post 360 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9624 united to honor all veterans during the dedication of Liam Gavigan’s Veteran’s Monument Eagle Scout project at Arrowhead Ridge on last Friday’s Veteran’s Day. Over 500 community members and dignitaries came out to support Gavigan in the completion of his six-year journey and to honor veterans on their special day.

Gavigan designed an elegant monument in his head while still a Cub Scout on what he wanted to build as his Eagle Scout project and he followed through on his concept, from inscribed marble benches for each branch of the military and flags flying on flagpoles behind each one, encircling the American Flag. He searched and found a beautiful setting at Arrowhead Ridge on a knoll overlooking the grassy hills of the Lake Arrowhead Country Club, surrounded by the trees of the Land Trust’s Arrowhead Ridge in a very serene site, which is what Liam was searching for, so current and future veterans could sit and contemplate in peace at the flag-festooned monument.


The dedication ceremony was done in grand style with all branches of the military represented. VFW Post Commander Gary Duncan welcomed all who came for the ceremony. He introduced Master of Ceremonies Captain Benjamin Cloud (U.S. Navy Ret.) and then Rebecca Iacolino (U.S. Army Ret.) led the opening prayer.

All the flags, Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard, were placed on their respective poles on the outer circle of poles by their branch members along with the POW-MIA Flag by Blue Star Moms and the California Flag by the Elks Lodge and the United States Flag in the center placed by Boy Scout Troop 89 of Lake Arrowhead. All were raised simultaneously to great fanfare and pride, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. Shannon Henyan sang the Star Spangled Banner.

Many dignitaries presented Liam with a half dozen certificates for his excellent project, including State Senator Mike Morrell and County Supervisor Janice Rutherford, who highly praised Liam for his dedication to his concept and his follow-through in raising $30,000 to build this monument. Liam’s growth in character, resolve and dedication to purpose are evident in all aspects of this Eagle Scout project.

The Veteran’s Day ceremony featured Armand LeSage, Past Commander of American Legion Post 360, who gave a tear-jerking speech describing his memories of service. The words evoked strong emotions from the crowd covering his entire 1967-68 tour of duty in Vietnam.

Bill Wright, from VFW post 9624, presented the Voice of Democracy High School Essay Contest winners. Third place went to McKenzie Eshleman and second place to Destiny Hochhalter, while first place was awarded to Mollie Kortsen, who read her prize-winning essay.

The Patriot Pen winners from Mary Putnam Henck Intermediate School were also presented, with third place going to Caitlyn Nicholson, second place to Chloe Judd, while first place was awarded to Summerice Malone. Ginger Gabriel presented the handmade Quilts of Valor, made by members of the local quilting guild, to local veterans who served their country with honor.

The audience sang service branch songs, with Joyce Rapp playing the keyboard, while dozens of veterans from each branch stood and were recognized.

Steve Ferrera (USMC Ret.) played “Taps” on the trumpet to close out the memorable dedication ceremony, followed by refreshments provided by Blue Star Moms, VFW Auxiliary and Stater Bros. Many of the hundreds attending milled around for an hour looking in amazement at the wonderfully impressive Veteran’s Monument.

Later in the afternoon, a solemn flag retirement ceremony was performed at VFW Post 9624 in Cedarpines Park, followed by a barbecue and live music celebrating Veteran’s Day.