Jim Free, chairman of the board for the Campbell Veterans Memorial, snapped these serendipitous photos on a recent trip to the memorial site.
"I was at the site today when they were doing to final touches with the bricks inlay in the main plaza area of the memorial," Free said. "It just happened that Mayor Mike Kotowski, George DePold and his wife Daphne were standing close by."
George is a Campbell resident, World War II veteran and a D-Day survivor. He's also an honorary member of the memorial's board and a brick honoring him has been placed at the memorial site, Free said.
Monday, George and Daphne celebrated their 67th wedding anniversary.
"They actually met when he was in England as a young soldier and was getting ready to deploy for D-Day," Free said. "They fell in love but he didn't want to propose before heading off to Normandy because he didn't want to leave her a young widow."
George made it through the sands of northern France and back to his love.
“They’re just a great couple,” Free said. “They’ve been really strong advocates for what we’re trying to do here.”
The final touches on the brick inlay have been completed, Free reported, and sod has been laid along the memorial's main entrance areas as well as along the path leading into to main plaza area.
"It's looking great there also," he said of the sod-lain route. "A lot of work went into that part of the memorial by itself."
Phase 1 of the memorial is almost done, Free said, and Phase 2 can begin as soon as the funding is secured.
"We need between three hundred and four hundred thousand dollars," he said. "It's tight out there now in this economic environment, but we are making progress."
Phase 2 includes installing a memorial fountain and timeline wall, dating back to the Revolutionary War and leading up to modern conflicts. A stream will flow along the wall, ending at an olive tree, symbolizing the hope that the wars veterans have fought are all ultimately leading towards peace.
Bricks honoring veterans and still serving soldiers can be purchased via the memorial's website. Servicemembers do not have to be residents of Campbell to have a brick at the site. Donations are also welcome, along with donations "in kind," such as pro bono electrical work.
As the construction fencing around Phase 1 comes down, Free encouraged Campbell and Santa Clara County residents to take a page from the DePolds' book.
"We're getting there folks," he said. "In my 'unbiased' opinion, of course, I think it's beautiful. Stop by and take a look."