Bench to honor veterans and Gold Star families rededicated

A new bench to honor veterans and Gold Star families was dedicated Saturday at the Armed Forces Reserve Center in Vancouver. The old bench, which was located outside the center’s main doors, was destroyed by a vandal late last year. Photo by Paul Valencia
A new bench to honor veterans and Gold Star families was dedicated Saturday at the Armed Forces Reserve Center in Vancouver. The old bench, which was located outside the center’s main doors, was destroyed by a vandal late last year. Photo by Paul Valencia

Veterans and First Responders Board of SW WA unanimously decided to replace previous granite bench that had been destroyed by a vandal late last year

The Veterans and First Responders Board of SW WA rededicated a bench in honor of Gold Star Families and veterans at the Armed Forces Reserve Center in Vancouver on Saturday.

The original granite bench, that was placed outside the center, was destroyed by a vandal late in 2022. 

The new bench, which typically costs $3,500, was replaced for only $1,000 by Vancouver Granite, according to Retired Judge Darvin Zimmerman, founder of the board. This bench, “In Honor of our Veterans and Gold Star Families” is now inside the facility.

A vandal destroyed the first granite bench in honor of Gold Star families outside the Armed Forces Reserve Center. A new bench was made, and the Veterans and First Responders Board of SW WA rededicated it on Saturday. Photo courtesy Darvin Zimmerman
A vandal destroyed the first granite bench in honor of Gold Star families outside the Armed Forces Reserve Center. A new bench was made, and the Veterans and First Responders Board of SW WA rededicated it on Saturday. Photo courtesy Darvin Zimmerman

Lynda Wilson, state senator, was one of the guest speakers Saturday. She spoke of being raised in a military family and sending cards to her father when he was stationed in Vietnam.

Retired Col. Larry J. Smith gave a brief history of the POW/MIA monument at the training center.

Peter and Debbie Bruns, a Gold Star Family, spoke about the kindness of the Clark County community. 

Jimmy and Hang Vilaysanh, owners of Jessica Jewelers, sponsored the first bench. They, too, were there Saturday for the rededication ceremony. 

The Armed Forces Reserve Center is home to a POW/MIA monument and also a granite bench to honor veterans and Gold Star families. Photo by Paul Valencia
The Armed Forces Reserve Center is home to a POW/MIA monument and also a granite bench to honor veterans and Gold Star families. Photo by Paul Valencia

Zimmerman said the board of directors unanimously approved purchasing a new bench.

“It’s important to the families,” Zimmerman said. “They’ve suffered a lot. They certainly don’t need to hurt more because someone damaged a bench honoring their loved ones.”

The Veterans and First Responders Board of SW WA is also raising funds for the Buffalo Soldiers. The Moses Williams Pacific Northwest Chapter of the Buffalo Soldiers T-Shirts are on sale at Goldies BBQ, 15640 NE Fourth Plain Blvd. Zimmerman is hoping to raise $5,000 for the chapter.

The Veterans and First Responders Board of SW WA is selling T-shirts to raise funds for the local chapter of Buffalo Soldiers. Image courtesy Darvin Zimmerman
The Veterans and First Responders Board of SW WA is selling T-shirts to raise funds for the local chapter of Buffalo Soldiers. Image courtesy Darvin Zimmerman

For more information on the board, go to its website at: www.vfrbswwa.org


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