Veterans’ and First Responders’ Living Memorial coming to Oro Valley

Ms. Kay Williams of the Greater Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce and Lt. Cmdr. (USN Ret) Steve Didio of the Oro Valley American Legion Post provided an update to the members of the Catalina Mountains Satellite Chapter of MOAA about the Southern Arizona Veterans’ and First Responders’ Living Memorial in Oro Valley at our monthly meeting on October 20. Ms. Williams is on the Board of Directors of the Oro Valley Chamber and Lt. Cmdr Didio is the Commander of the Legion Post 132. Ms. Williams worked in industry for her earlier career, primarily at Boeing where she was involved with the Space Station, French and British AWACS, the Airborne Laser Program, several international programs and the 727 and 777 aircraft programs. Lt. Cmdr. Didio served 24 years in the Navy on both surface and submarine ships/boats and subsequently worked at Raytheon Missile Systems here in Tucson.

The Memorial is dedicated to honoring the fallen and all men and women who have and are serving their country and communities. That is why it is denoted as a living memorial. It will be located in Oro Valley in Naranjo Park where it will overlook the Catalina Mountains. The site will have 2.5 acres that were donated by the city of Oro Valley. It is for all of southern Arizona and will be the only living memorial in the region and the largest west of the Mississippi.

The idea was generated by a Korean war veteran several years ago and has been designed to include memorial walls for each Department of Defense service and the First Responders. The memorial will also have an amphitheater for a variety of events, benches for quiet reflection and attractive landscaping. Fundraising is on-going for the approximately $1.9 million project. The completion date will be determined once a significant fraction of the funds are raised. It will definitely be quite a tribute to those honored.

The next Catalina Mountains Chapter of MOAA meeting will be held on Saturday, November 17, 2018 at 1130, Catalina Room of the Mesquite Grill in the MountainView Country Club Complex. The speaker will be Mr. Ed Torres speaking about the Missing in America Project whose purpose is to locate, identify and inter the unclaimed cremated remains of American veterans.

For additional information, contact Col. Rett Benedict, President, 825-7424, [email protected] or Col. Bill Nagy, MOAA Treasurer, 355-5064, [email protected]. Check website: for information.

The Catalina Mountains Satellite is part of the Tucson Chapter and encompasses northwest Tucson to include Catalina, Oracle, parts of Oro Valley and Marana, SaddleBrooke and Sun City.

The Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) is a nonprofit veterans’ service association dedicated to maintaining a strong national defense and to preserve the earned entitlements of members of the uniformed services and their families and survivors.