The Oakley Veterans Memorial honors the past and current military service of men and women, and now there’s a way to personally memorialize the sacrifice and service a veteran has made to our country.
The Oakley Memorial Brick program offers citizens an opportunity to have a brick donated to the Oakley Veterans Memorial in their honor, or in honor of someone else. For a donation of $125, each brick will be engraved with a personal message.
The program is administered by the Veterans of Oakley (VOO) on behalf of the city of Oakley. Bricks are available throughout the year, however, they are only placed in the memorial once per year, on Veterans Day.
“Oakley Veterans Memorial is a place of peace and honor,” said John Arnie, Air Force veteran and VOO member. “People find comfort there and appreciate a place where their services are being honored and appreciated.”
According to Arnie, people have donated bricks for themselves as well as for friends and family members. Businesses have also donated bricks to show their support for the local veteran community.
Oakley Councilmember Kevin Romick’s family has donated three bricks. One for his dad, Kenneth Romick, who joined the Merchant Marines at 15 years old and later served in the Navy; another for his grandfather, Nicholas Romick, who served in the Marines from 1916 to 1924 and one for his nephew, John Valles, a Marine.
“They say that in order to create lasting memories, you must first pave the way,” said Romick. “The bricks serve to remind us that the heroes that walk among us — in the past, present and future — the American veterans are our family members, friends and neighbors.”
Oakley Councilmember Sue Higgins donated a brick for her father, Frank H. Kruse, who served as a radar man in the Navy during the Korean War, and frequently shared his stories of traveling the world on his Navy ship. She also donated a brick for her father-in-law, Robert J. Higgins, who was in the Air Force, stationed in London, during the Korean War as part of the inflight refueling team.
“I enjoy the memories that are associated with our bricks, and can only imagine the stories that belong to the other bricks in the memorial,” said Higgins. “I am grateful for the chance to honor my family and other veterans in our community. Our freedom exists only because of the sacrifices of those that have served and continue to serve.”
VOO is an independent veteran 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2015. Their purpose is to serve members and former members of the U.S. Armed Forces by educating them on veteran benefits and vocational opportunities, supporting homeless veterans and working with other organizations to reduce veteran suicides.
To obtain a brick, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call VOO member John Artie at 925-321-0168 or send a letter requesting a form to: The Veterans of Oakley, 2063 Main St., Unit 153, Oakley, CA, 94561.