Fundraising underway to make veterans park a reality - 8 News NOW

Fundraising underway to make veterans park a reality

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LAS VEGAS --  Plans are moving forward to build the first veterans memorial park in downtown Las Vegas. Organizers have been working on the project for years and now they are asking the public to pitch in to make it a reality.

Mike Barnhart was just 17 when he joined the military. He went on to serve in Vietnam and was part of the U.S. Marine Corps for more than a decade. He's now living in Las Vegas and is excited that a memorial dedicated to veterans will soon be in the valley.

"I will be one of the first persons there when they cut the ribbon," he said.

The Las Vegas Veterans Memorial is the brainchild of Mick Catron, a local businessman and army veteran. At his store, American Shooters, Catron shows a model of what the park will look like. It will have 18 life-like statues of veterans from different wars.

"We didn't want to build anything that is conflict or branch specific necessarily. We wanted to speak to all veterans in the past and the future," he said.

The city of Las Vegas has designated Heritage Park along downtown's cultural corridor as the location for the memorial. The project has a $2.2 million price tag. So far organizers have raised about $900,000. The goal is to have the memorial park open in late 2015. The biggest challenge is raising enough money to make the park a reality.

A fundraising campaign is underway where people can buy commemorative bricks to honor a veteran. The bricks will then be placed along the perimeters of the memorial park.

"It certainly is dear to me to see this happen," Catron said.

"It's an honorable thing to serve your country," Barnhart said.

He believes the memorial will be a showcase of the pride and sacrifice veterans have made.

Once the memorial is complete, organizers plan to donate it back to the city.

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