Heartland Youth For Decency
Vietnam War Memorial Restoration Fund
The Heartland Youth for Decency Vietnam Memorial Park is located next to
the La Mesa American Legion 282 (J.A. Park Memorial Building 1947)
in La Mesa, California, a city known as the Jewel of the Hills. The Memorial Park is a place where family, friends
and the public can come and sit on the grass and
park benches to remember men and women who gave their
lives for this country. The
memorial park is dedicated to veterans who were living in Southern
California's Heartland area (consisting of the communities of La Mesa,
Spring Valley, Jamul, Lemon Grove, El Cajon, Santee, and Lakeside) when they
accepted the call to military service, during which service they
gave their lives in the Vietnam War.
The Vietnam Memorial was built by a group called Heartland Youth for Decency back in 1970. The group was started by Ellis and Virginia Evers, and chaired by their daughter, Denise, and included high school and college students from La Mesa and surrounding areas.This group was involved in many community service projects, the largest and most visible being the monument.
The main purpose was to honor those who died in Vietnam, during a most difficult and trying time for our country. Of note, the La Mesa monument was among the first built in the United
States honoring Vietnam War dead.
The monument was built with mostly volunteer labor as well as donations from businesses and individuals. Orest Zalopany, a very busy stone mason contractor, donated his time in the actual construction of the monument.
Over the years, the monument has come to need restoration, due to the ravages of time as well as vandalism, including tagging and stolen bronze plaques. Oresta Zalopany Johnson, daughter of the stone mason who built the monument, contacted Denise Evers Rhoads and the two have collaborated on the restoration over the past year. They have worked along with the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 472 San Diego and the American Legion Post 282 to revitalize and restore the monument and the surrounding area. Much has been accomplished, but much more needs to be done.
- Graffiti Removed
- Clear Urethane Anti-Graffiti Seal
- Monument Power Washed
- Stolen Plaques Replaced with Black Granite
- Original Existing Plaques Refinished
- Names of Vietnam Casualties updated to reflect those who died after dedication in 1970
- Cross Painted
- New/Refinished flagpole
- Irrigation replacement for non-existing irrigation with water conservation in mind
- Repair of the existing cracked walkway
- Repair of electrical issues
- Addition of "Empty Chair" to represent POW's and MIA's
- Landscaping including addition of succulents and missing shrubs
- Tree Trimming
- Mosaic Benches Designed by Dan Evers -- POW Chair Artist
- Addition of Wheelchair Ramp
How You Can Help
With your donations we can restore this memorial to
reflect the beauty it represents. Renovations are ongoing and donations are accepted at any time.
Donations can be made by sending a check to:
Checks should be made out to: VVA 472 - memo to read "Heartland Youth for Decency Vietnam Memorial Fund".
P.O Box 1804
La Mesa, CA 91944
All donations are tax-deductible and a receipt will be provided.
Denise Evers Rhoads
Flag Day June 14, 2014 was a Huge Success!
The Daily Californian estimated that there were 400 people in attendance. Article here.
|Spring 1970 - HYFD Members Working on Monument
||Monument Dedication - Flag Day, June 14th, 1970
HYFD Members Placing Monument Sign Oct 1970