Pizarro: New tribute raised in honor of San Jose’s Vietnam veterans

Categories: News

A U.S. flag and a POW-MIA flag were raised at the grand opening of the
Little Orchard Self-Storage facility in San Jose to honor the city’s 142
residents who lost their lives in the Vietnam War. (Sal Pizarro/Bay Area
News Group)

A new memorial to the 142 San Jose residents who lost their lives in the Vietnam War was unveiled in an emotional ceremony Wednesday at an unusual location — a new self-storage facility on Little Orchard Avenue near Curtner Avenue. You need look no farther than the people behind the development to know why it’s there: Chuck Toeniskoetter and BillKenney, the partners on the project, are both veterans who feel strongly that the people who made the ultimate sacrifice in the war can’t be thanked enough.

The memorial is a flag pole flying both the U.S. and POW-MIA flags, along with a one-ton stone marker dedicated to veterans of the war. Toeniskoetter said Wednesday he considers the tribute to be an extension of the Sons of San Jose memorial on The Alameda near SAP Center that bears the names of all the city’s veterans who died in Vietnam. Dennis Fernandez and Mike Salas of the San Jose Vietnam War Memorial Foundation were at the dedication, as was San Jose City Councilman Tam Nguyen.“We owe a debt to the men and women who valiantly served, and that debt can never be repaid,” said Kenney, a San Mateo attorney and owner of several storage facilities in the Bay Area. “So today we honor them with this flagpole and flag, which we dedicate to their memory.”

“I am the living proof of their sacrifice because I was a refugee from Vietnam,” Nguyen told the crowd. “I survived thanks to those sacrifices. Not only for my freedom, my life, my future here — and what I’m saying now is my deep gratitude for that sacrifice.”

Two other community groups also will be benefiting from the new facility. Free storage units are being provided to the local council of the Boy Scouts of America and to TurningWheels for Kids, which provides new bicycles for needy kids throughout the year.

MAKERS SHOW AND TELL: The San Jose Mini Maker Faire returns to History Park on Sunday, with all kinds of do-it-yourself activities for the junior set. And believe me, some of the projects on display last year, like air-propelled paper rockets, were just as much for fun grown-ups as they were for the kids.

While there’ll be robotics teams showing off their creations, it’s not all tech-based: There are beekeepers, woodcarvers, glassblowers and even basket weavers included in the expected lineup. “We’ve got some fantastic makers of all kinds that can share their passion and skills with visitors,” History San Jose CEO Alida Bray said.

The fun runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and you can get ticket information at sanjose.makerfaire.com.

STROLL CREATIVELY: It’s going to be a hot weekend, which means it should be a great Friday night for the monthly South First Fridays art walk in downtown San Jose. This month includes the street market, with artists, musicians and other vendors filling South First Street with activity starting at 7 p.m.

Works/San Jose, the community gallery on Market Street, is worth making a slight detour for Friday night. The gallery has been celebrating its 40th anniversary all year and continues with the opening of an exhibition featuring work from 40 of the artists who have been featured there since 1977. There will also be photos, show announcements and other items on display from the six locations that have housed Works/San Jose over the years.

Article reference: http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/08/31/pizarro-new-tribute-raised-in-honor-of-san-joses-vietnam-veterans/