Vietnam vets work to clean memorial damaged during Fourth of July

The local chapter of Vietnam Veterans of America is working to repair damage caused by someone who set up what appears to have been a barbecue grill at the local Vietnam memorial, spilling grease on memorial pavers.

In addition to the 46 pavers, valued at approximately $5,000, damage was also caused to the helicopter that sits elevated at the memorial.

According to local VVA chapter president, Tom Bright, the damage was discovered when one of the group’s members went to the memorial to pick up trash after the Fourth of July weekend.

“At first he thought it was water on the pavement,” Bright said. “Then he realized it wasn’t water, it was grease. I can’t believe someone’s that incredibly dumb to put a barbecue pit under the chopper, so they wouldn’t be in the sun, I guess.”

“They ruined 46 pavers. We’re going to try anything we can to clean it.”

Because the pavers are porous, the grease has gone deep in to the stone. Grease is still dripping off the skids on the helicopter. The helicopter will have to be power-washed and degreased.

“The helicopter is made out of magnesium, that thing would’ve gone up like a match.” Bright said.

Bright said a report was initially made to the San Angelo Police Department regarding the damage, but since the memorial is just out of city limits, the jurisdiction for the memorial falls under San Angelo Regional Airport police. He will speak to them Monday.

For concerned citizens who are well-meaning and would like to help, the group asks that no one goes to the memorial to try to clean the pavers themselves to prevent further damage. Because funds are limited for the VVA, most of their expenses go to pay the landscapers to keep the property neat.

Bright and others said they have thrown a few ideas around regarding a possible fundraiser for the memorial.

“You don’t go around destroying other people’s property.”

MAJ_3295 MAJ_3296