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Featured Business, December 2022

Arizona Heroes Memorial

After years of planning, Oro Valley will soon be home to the Arizona Heroes Memorial, designed to honor and celebrate the brave men and women who serve the community as active-duty military, veterans, first responders, and healthcare workers. The memorial will be built in Naranja Park, overlooking the Catalina Mountains, on 2.5 acres of land donated by the town of Oro Valley, and drawings are being finalized as plans are being made to break ground in early 2023.

Lisa Hopper, Executive Director of the Arizona Heroes Memorial project and proud veteran, took some time to share the vision for the memorial and its significance to the Oro Valley community. “The Arizona Heroes Memorial will be a place where the generations of tomorrow learn from the heroes of today.” The memorial aims to memorialize and celebrate the exceptional individuals who have dedicated their lives to the service of our country and to preserve our American values, and it hopes to inspire another generation to become part of the heroes of the future, Hopper says.

The memorial will honor more than 1.5 million Arizonans who have served, past and present, as members of the Armed Forces, first responders and healthcare workers.

When a group of Arizonans saw the need for a physical space to remember our heroes and preserve our history, they realized that there was no such memorial west of the Mississippi. They set out to create a memorial that would honor the individuals who represent the best of us, and a place that would provide community education and inspiration for future generations. The memorial will honor more than 1.5 million Arizonans who have served, past and present, in the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, National Guard, and Space Force, as well as first responders and healthcare workers. The Arizona Heroes Memorial will have a 24-foot monument tower, a covered pavilion for ceremonies, and a quiet place for pavers honoring family and friends. It will incorporate art and native landscaping for shade.

“This is a living memorial because it will be a place of honor, memorial, celebration, and education”, says Dr. Richard Carmona, former Surgeon General and Honorary Chairperson of the Arizona Heroes Memorial project. While the memorial was initially intended to honor past and present members of the Armed Forces and first responders, the covid pandemic made it clear that our healthcare workers are heroes who deserve to be honored in our community as well. Most recently, a memorial wall has been added to honor the service of members of the Space Force, the newest branch of the Armed Forces, and it will be the first in the nation to honor this branch.

As Lisa Hopper puts it, “The Arizona Heroes Memorial will have so much depth to the history and the stories.” The location in Naranja Park is significant as well, Hopper says, with the memorial being located front and center in a park that functions as a hub in the Oro Valley community. Retired Oro Valley Police Chief Danny Sharp says, “This memorial will give us a place to reflect on how we fulfill our responsibilities to our community.”

Oro Valley is proud of our hometown heroes. The Arizona Heroes Memorial will be our community’s way of saying thank you to active-duty military, veterans, police, firefighters, EMTs, and healthcare workers. Set against the picturesque backdrop of Pusch Ridge, the completed memorial represents an opportunity to reflect, remember, celebrate, educate and inspire heroes past, present, and future. As 2022 comes to an end, fundraising efforts continue. Consider making a tax-deductible donation to the Arizona Heroes Memorial, and you can be part of making this vision a reality.