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Gold Star Families Memorial construction underway, dedication postponed

May 26 2020
Jeff Papworth | Idaho State Journal

POCATELLO — Amid the pandemic, the construction of the Gold Star Families Memorial Monument and Plaza in Pocatello is moving forward.

Landscaping and the installation of a sprinkler system will be completed by late June and the benches and plaques will be placed sometime this year, according to local Gold Star Mother Rebecca Webb who launched the project.

The Pocatello resident said the memorial’s dedication is tentatively scheduled for the spring or summer of 2021 after previously being set for this June. She said it was postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The monument will be placed right before the dedication and the flags will be raised for the first time at the event.

Webb said she is pleased with how the construction is faring and expressed gratitude to Starr Corporation, Portneuf Development LLC and the rest of the businesses and people who have contributed to the local Idaho Gold Star Families Memorial project.

The Pocatello memorial is 75 percent completed, according to Webb. The flag poles are up, the concrete has been laid for the plaza and the sidewalk to the monument has been completed.

Plus, it has an address: 1775 Gold Star Drive, with 1775 signifying the start of the American Revolutionary War.

The construction of the memorial has been a long process.

In the summer of 2018, Webb became motivated to take on this project after going to an American Gold Star Mothers national convention in California and meeting World War II veteran Hershel “Woody” Williams, whose foundation provides direction for Gold Star Families Memorial Monuments and has since provided guidance for the Pocatello monument.

Webb became a Gold Star mother after the death of her son Master Sgt. Christopher V. Webb, who served for nearly 18 years in the Idaho National Guard, and died in June 2017.

Nearly two years later, Webb saw the groundbreaking for the Gold Star Families Memorial Monument and Plaza on April 2019.

Construction started around a year later in early March because of multiple reasons including the weather.

“We had to wait until the frost came out of the ground,” said Ken Pape, director of operation for Portneuf Development who has helped provide guidance on the project. “We couldn’t get it done fast enough last year. The weather came up on us pretty quick and there’s a lot of moving parts in there to get it to this stage.”

In time, Webb will celebrate the dedication of the monument honoring fallen service members like her son, as well as families who lost them.

“It’s very meaningful to the Gold Star Families in the state of Idaho and it’s very meaningful to our veteran community,” Webb said. “This monument will also be an opportunity to educate the public about sacrifice and about freedom and about service to our nation.”

Webb says funding is still needed for the memorial and people can make donations at idahogoldstarmemorial.com.