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November 28, 2012

Pair works to establish veterans memorial in Beverly Park

By Robin Ruehlen
C & G Staff Writer

BEVERLY HILLS — Beverly Park could be home to a new veterans memorial monument as early as next spring, thanks to the work of resident Paul Kleppert and former Beverly Hills Council member Ron Berndt.

“We’re here for a very special reason. In 2011, at the Memorial Day Parade, after the services for our veterans, Ron brought up subject of, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if Beverly Park had a veterans memorial of some type?’” Kleppert recounted at the Nov. 20 regular Village Council meeting. 

“We worked on it for awhile, and thought it would be easy. Then, we realized it was going to take six to eight weeks to order the monument if we had the funds to purchase one, and then we got onto the issue of collecting money.”

Since then, he said, they have been certified with the state attorney general’s office as a nonprofit organization, and have worked with Independent Bank of Beverly Hills to create an account for the Veterans Memorial Fund.

“The funds can be sent directly to the bank, and the bank will handle all the money,” he said.

“We presented this originally at a joint meeting with the Parks and Recreation Board last May and got a pretty positive response. We’d like to solicit funds less than $5,000, because over that, you get into a whole new level of documentation.”

Kleppert told the council that the two potential designs both come in under $5,000 — the smaller, slant-style monument at $2,700, and the larger, full-standing monument at $4,200.

The full-standing black granite monument reads, “In Honor of All the Men and Women of Beverly Hills who Served in the Armed Forces of the United States of America” with the official seals of the five branches Armed Services beneath and an American flag etched in the background.

“Black granite is the only granite that is quarried in the United States. All the others are imported,” Kleppert said. “This being an American veterans memorial, we thought it was only appropriate to use American granite.”

Kleppert said he is aiming to have the funds secured by February or March to allow enough time for the monument to be delivered.

“We’re looking for your help and support. We’d certainly like to accomplish this on time, and have a very wonderful dedication for our Memorial Day Parade in 2013,” he said. “Last week was Veterans Day, and at this appropriate time, we would very much appreciate the donations.”

Any funds remaining after the purchase would be donated to the Beverly Park Board.

“Let’s just put some memorial back into Memorial Day,” Berndt added.

Council President Tim Mercer thanked both men and said he looks forward to seeing the result. “I think this is a great memorial you’re proposing, and a great idea. Thank you very much for your time in this.”

Brochures regarding the memorial are available at the Village Offices, and information will also be posted on the Village website.

Those who wish to donate to the Beverly Hills Veterans Memorial Fund can send checks to Independent Bank, 32800 Southfield Road in Beverly Hills.  All donations are tax-deductible

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Robin Ruehlen at rruehlen@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1105.