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Vietnam Wall effort gets boost from video and Supervisor Don Knabe
The effort by the Greater Lakewood Chamber of Commerce and local veterans groups to bring a traveling version of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall to the chamber’s “Summer Stampede” car show in Lakewood this August got some big help—and a big challenge—from Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe. Click to see a video on this community effort,
It costs money and takes a small army of volunteers to staff the traveling Vietnam Veterans wall while it’s on location. Local veterans and others have stepped up to provide the volunteers, but funds are needed to pay the transportation and related costs of the wall and to financially support the car show in general.
Knabe, a Navy veteran, has pledged to match donations made by the public, dollar for dollar, up to a total of $5,000, and he has also made his own donation of $1,000 to the effort.
“I want to give a huge thanks to Supervisor Knabe,” said chamber president John Kelsall. “I hope lots of Lakewood area residents and businesses will take advantage of his pledge offer. Match it with your own donation of any size. They’ll all add up. The Knabe match could be the winning ticket that lets us successfully bring the wall here to Lakewood.”
The goal is to have the traveling Vietnam Wall at Mayfair Park in Lakewood from Thursday, August 14 until Sunday afternoon, August 17 as part of the chamber’s annual car show on that Sunday. The car show is an annual fundraising event for the chamber and its activities to help with business growth in Lakewood. The car show has incorporated a military support and appreciation theme for the past several years. Kelsall’s son, Jonas, was a Navy SEAL Lieutenant Commander killed in Afghanistan in 2011.
The American Veterans Traveling Tribute version of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall is 360 feet long and is an 80%-sized replica of the original in Washington, DC. It lists the over 58,000 names of service personnel who gave their lives for our nation during the Vietnam War. Seeing the wall is described as an extremely moving experience that heightens one’s patriotism and appreciation for the service and sacrifice of our Vietnam-era military veterans.
Donations for the combined car show and visit of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall can be made to: the Greater Lakewood Chamber of Commerce, 24 Lakewood Center Mall, Lakewood, CA 90712. For more information, contact chamber president John Kelsall at 562-531-9733.