A two-year volunteer effort to refurbish Chino Valley’s Sept. 11 memorial is wrapping up most of its work in time for ceremonies marking the 20th anniversary.
Larry Holt, a retired police officer, helped launch the drive to make the improvements two years ago after happening upon the site at Santa Fe Trail and Shooting Range Road, just off Perkinsville Road near the Chino Valley Police Department training facility.
A sculpture of first responders holding up part of an I-beam taken from the fallen World Trade Center had been crafted by local welder Newell Roundy, installed on a pentagon-shaped concrete pad and dedicated in 2013 by the Town of Chino Valley.
Set back from the road with no path to reach it, over the next six years it was neglected and overtaken by tumbleweeds and other vegetation, bird poop and other natural elements.
“People couldn’t see it, and if they did see it they probably didn’t know what it was. I knew what it was because we had done something similar in the town I moved here from,” Holt says. “I knew what we were looking at and said, ‘It’s kind of disrespectful to have it looking like it does’.”
In September 2019 Holt started a group that quickly moved forward with holding cleanup days, and after getting Town Council approval the following month drafted plans for improving the site.
Fundraising started with the sale of engraved bricks and pavers for a walkway up to the memorial. Over the next two years some $13,000 was raised and dozens of volunteers installed new ground cover, a brick walkway, parking area, sidewalk, retaining wall and three metal storyboards depicting the sites of the Sept. 11 attacks, as well as three flagpoles, two benches and a plaque.
“It’s a good community thing, it gets a lot of people together and it makes some good friendships,” Holt says.
Raffles and other fundraisers continue for additional improvements, and the Town is planning a 20th anniversary event Sept. 11 at the memorial.
For more information see the Chino Valley, AZ 9/11 Memorial page on Facebook or email email@example.com.