I passed a Challenge Coin to President Obama in January. It was a handshake with a sitting President, and I had the opportunity to convey a specially designed Challenge Coin with an eagle flying over Mt. Diablo on one side and our vintage Veterans Memorial Building on the other.
I shook hands with the President, but gifts had to pass high security. So, the traditional receipt of a Challenge Coin by handshake was modified!
After speaking to the U.S. Mayors attending breakfast January 21st, President Obama may not recall that I told him I grew up in his home state of Illinois, or that my fellow councilwoman went to high school with him. He is un likely to recall who gave him the beautiful coin; if he had, he surely would have stopped in Danville on his trip to the Bay Area in mid-February!
I issued the “challenge” in a follow-up letter to the President—“Use the renovation of our Veterans Hall as a model partnership to replace Veterans Halls across America!”
We, the Veterans Memorial Building Development Committee of San Ramon Valley, explained how OUR project could raise the standard for the provision of Veterans Halls. These revered buildings provided to communities after World War I are 85 years old and substandard in meeting the needs of aging Veterans. They are totally in adequate in meeting the needs of returning heroes today.
We are rebuilding and doubling the size of our Veterans Memorial Building and Community Center for the Val ley—maintaining an historic treasure where so many communities would have razed it for a higher economic return.
We are proud to be:
Providing a dedicated Veterans’ Wing to host and educate returning Veterans’ families about benefits, new ca reers, and help to fit in with their community—like Jerry Yahiro, General Lowe, and others planning East Bay Stand Down for 450 homeless Veterans.
Building a physical location (art workshop, community room, and small training room) to expand recreation and education programs for Seniors.
Replacing a non-accessible, aging facility with an auditorium for events that build community—Veterans’ Events, National Charity Awards, Senior Citizens’ Events, and more.
To donate towards the construction of this wonderful landmark, please see our website at www.srvVeteransHall.org.
Karen Stepper is Mayor, Town of Danville, and Chairman, Veterans Memorial Building Development Committee of San Ramon Valley.