Group Searching For Names, Donations For New Bountiful Veterans Park

Feb 4, 2020, 11:03 PM

BOUNTIFUL, Utah – The names of thousands of men and women who have served our country are expected to be on display later this year at the Bountiful Veterans Park, a yearslong initiative to recognize and honor every veteran from Bountiful and surrounding cities.

Not a generation goes by without the sacrifices of men and women who give their time, and even their lives, to protect and preserve our freedoms.

“We can’t forget them,” said veteran Tom Tolman. “If we don’t share that with our next generation, they’ll forget.”

Tolman was born and raised in Bountiful. He served in the Vietnam War and later made it part of his work as a historian and city councilmember to remember and honor veterans in his city.

“That’s what it’s all about, is teaching this next generation,” Tolman said.

Now, a yearslong private initiative is making that happen.

“We need to honor all veterans. It’s about time,” said Rob Vandegrift, who serves on the board of directors for the Bountiful Veterans Park. Vandergrift is also the park’s chief architect.

“I think that’s what makes us unique,” he said. “We’re not a memorial park. We’re a veterans park.”

The private initiative aims to recognize and honor every veteran from Bountiful, West Bountiful, Woods Cross, North Salt Lake or Centerville who has served from the War of 1812 to the ongoing war on terror.

“It will have a lot of reverence and a lot of sacredness to the park,” Vandegrift said. “We feel it’s just an important thing to do and we’re proud to be part of it.”

Thanks to a generous donation from the city, the park has a place to call home. It will soon sit on a three-quarter acre plot of land just north of the city hall building, which is currently under construction.

“For one thing, it adds a lot of heart. It’s a great reminder to all of us that we owe a lot to these folks who have dedicated so much of their time and many cases their lives,” said Gary Hill, Bountiful city manager. “Anytime a group comes and proposes something that builds a community and they’re going to raise the funds for it, it’s hard to turn that down.”

Officials with the Bountiful Veterans Park said they’re raised about $800,000 of the estimated $2 million needed for the project. They’re asking for donations and for the names of 16,000 veterans to fill the granite walls.

“I’m not so concerned my name’s on there,” Tolman said. “But it’s good for everybody.”

It’s just the sort of honor Tolman hoped to see stand in his community before the sun sets on another generation of heroes.

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Group Searching For Names, Donations For New Bountiful Veterans Park