A memorial statue dedicated to San Ramon Valley High grad Lance Cpl. Joshua "Chachi" Corral will officially be allowed on Hartz Avenue in front of the new Veterans Memorial Building. A "battlefield cross," the memorial would feature boots, a rifle and a helmet with two plaques -- one which describes the genesis of the battlefield cross and one dedicating the memorial to Chachi.
"The consensus among the Town Council was that they wanted to move forward with having this memorial based on the support from the community and veterans associations," said Nat Rojanasathira, assistant to the town manager.
Shortly after Chachi's death on Nov. 18 in Afghanistan, volunteers mobilized to raise funds for the $10,000 memorial statue which will sit on a granite base and be up-lit to glow at night. Surplus funds raised for the memorial will be funneled into the Semper Fi Foundation, which is dedicated to supporting deployed military members, gold star families and special needs of veterans and their families.
"It's going to be a nice thing in Chachi's memory to make sure we take care of his Marines as he'd want us to do," said Len Hack, executive director of the Fallen Soldier Memorial and Semper Fi Foundation. "Fundraising has been robust….There's been such an overwhelming response, I think it's hard to go through downtown and find a business that doesn't have a sticker that says 'I support the Danville fallen soldier memorial.'"
There will be an official dedication on March 7 -- the date symbolic for the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines weapons unit that Corral served in -- but the statue won't officially debut on the building's northeast cover until mid or late April when the Vets Hall reopens. Still, Hack said he was impressed with the speed of the council's consensus.
"Basically in a 90 day period we took a project that was merely a thought after the loss of Chachi and we were able to bring awareness, fundraise and bring it to the town. Even they said yesterday that it was an amazing feat," he said.