Military service will be honored and enshrined at the Point of Honor this weekend. Organizers said the monument project was born out of love for country and pride in our veterans.
An official dedication ceremony for the Del Norte County Veterans Memorial Monument, the Point of Honor, is slated for 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 13. The monument is located at the corner of Front Street and Highway 101 in Crescent City.
Kelly Schellong is the public relations representative and fundraising chairwoman for the Del Norte County Veterans Memorial Monument Committee, which began its work in 2007 and achieved nonprofit status in 2016. The committee is composed of nearly all veterans. Schellong served on the City Council in 2007 when the land for the memorial monument was granted to the project by city officials.
Schellong stepped down from the council in 2014, the same year her son enlisted in the Army. He’s currently serving in Germany. Schellong chose to dedicate her free time to fundraising, volunteering and event planning. She teamed up with the veterans who had spent years moving their project through the design, permitting and regulating processes.
The initial price tag for the monument was a steep $500,000. A redesign made it more affordable for the community, and the project cost came to around $175,000 including $20,000 to the City of Crescent City for future maintenance costs.
The dedication ceremony will feature Democratic State Sen. Mike McGuire, a representative from Democratic U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman’s office, the commander of Coast Guard Air Station Humboldt Bay, city and county officials, and a special surprise appearance is expected.
Committee members and community partners will be acknowledged at the ceremony as the driving force behind the monument. Nearly every dollar for it came through fundraising and donations. Schellong said although she’s a hard worker by nature, her work was made easier by the giving community, noting significant donations and assistance from the local Ace Hardware store and Home Depot among other big players.
A wall dedicated to Del Norte County’s fallen was added to the project in the last six months of planning. The committee worked with the historical society, the Daughters of the American Revolution, and the local veterans service office to find the names of the locals who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to the nation. Nearly 50 names appear on the wall, including Army National Guard Capt. Bruno de Solenni, who served four tours in Afghanistan and was killed on his last deployment at age 32.
“Veterans represent why we have freedom every single day,” Schellong said. “Del Norte County has a very large population of veterans … we want this monument to be something our veterans can come to and feel that our community respects them, but also that it respects their battle buddies who they may have fought and served with.”
Arrive for the ceremony early as parking is expected to be tight. There is limited ADA parking at Chamber of Commerce or Shoreline RV (access the monument by footbridge). For accommodations, contact Kelly Schellong at 707-218-5060.