Vandalized veterans memorial in West Richland fixed, rededicated

Geoff Folsom, Tri-City HeraldJuly 7, 2014 

Flat Top Park Memorial

The veterans memorial at Flat Top Park in West Richland is cleaned up and restored after it had been vandalized a couple of months back.

MATT GADE — Tri-City Herald Buy Photo

The vandalized veterans memorial in West Richland's Flat Top Park has been fixed, but more work needs to be done.

A dedication for the memorial, which depicts a replica of an M-16 rifle, inverted and placed into the ground by its bayonet, with a World War II helmet attached to the top, was held Friday.

The pieces were ripped from the memorial's granite base in February and later found tossed in the weeds behind the Benton County Mosquito Control office in West Richland.

A pair of bronze boots, which are bolted to the base, also were damaged.

Combat Veterans International Chapter 3 raised $11,000 to repair the memorial, but not all of the money went toward repairing the monument itself.

The group's treasurer, Dan Brierley, said it will use what it has left over to add a video surveillance system and is working with Moon Security of Pasco.

The rifle and helmet are better reinforced than they were previously, after repairs by Pat Artz of Benton City, who built the memorial more than a decade ago.

Brierley said the boots are now more secure after being filled with gravel and topped with silicon.

The veterans would still like to make the boots even more solid, but are reconsidering options after an area foundry told them it would cost $8,500 to make them solid brass.

"People saved their hard earned money to help us," he said. "We didn't want to waste it."

The largest donation for the memorial repairs came from the Carpenters and Millworkers Union No. 2403, which gave $5,000.

-- Geoff Folsom: 509-582-1543; gfolsom@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @GeoffFolsom

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