When I was approached about assisting with the build of the Snellville Veterans Memorial for the city of Snellville, Georgia, I was honored and intrigued. As a veteran who served in the U.S. Army, I am very passionate about supporting our military and veterans. Snellville Mayor Pro Tem Tom Witts, a veteran himself, invited a group of us together to design and build the new memorial that he had envisioned for the city. I was brought in as the water feature specialist. I knew from the very start that this was going to be a project that really meant a lot to me—one that would touch my heart and many others.
The Tech Specs
Under the banner “Freedome is Never Free,” the memorial now sits in front of City Hall in Snellville and features a “Wall of Veterans,” an eternal flame and a waterfall with a fountain and a five-point star in the middle. The waterfall is a 6-foot, custom-built weir falling into a trough with jets on both sides to circulate the water. In the middle of the memorial is a fountain with a daisy head and a five-point star representing the five branches of the military. All this flows into a chamber behind the wall, which houses the auto-fill valve, custom-built valves and the two-phase 13,000-gallon pump. All lighting and wires are run through PVC into the vault, along with all electrical and gas lines for the eternal flame that burns 24/7.
No Small Donations
The committee, all of whom donated their time and work for free, included Councilwoman Barbara Bender; President of CAS Architecture Chad Smith; engineering specialist and West Point graduate Bob McCann; pro tem Mayor Tom Witts, who had this vision; and myself, the water feature expert. Each with our own specific role and expertise, together we planned, designed and built the Memorial over the course of more than two years—with the help of many volunteers and our community.
The monument was completely funded through donations and the sale of tiles, bricks and pavers purchased by the public in honor or in memory of a veteran. The entire project cost $80,000-plus. With hard work, donated time and money and raised funds in honor of loved ones, the Wall of Veterans and the pavers that surround it now serve as a tribute to veterans of all wars.
A project nearly three years in the making, the memorial finally came to fruition on Memorial day 2014, when we unveiled it and dedicated it to veterans past and present. When the switch was turned on for the waterfall and fountain, I held my breath. Then, as the water began to flow across the tiles of the veterans and the Eternal Flame was lit to honor all who are serving or have served our country, I was deeply moved. It was a day I will always remember.
It was a privilege and honor to serve our country, as it was also a privilege and honor to serve my community and fellow veterans by being a part of this memorial and bringing this waterfall to life. Now I have been asked to be on the committee of another community to help design and build another memorial for veterans…but the memorial in Snellville is a project that will alway stay dear to my heart.
Serenity Falls and Watergardens Landscape