Sabrina Yvellez, a member of the Girl Scout Cadettes in Johns Creek, has embarked on an ambitious project to raise $13,000 to pay for a polished six-foot tall granite monument to honor women veterans.
It will be part of the four-acre Veterans Memorial Walk in a quiet portion of Newtown Park in Johns Creek. There also will be a similar monument to honor Purple Heart recipients, one for prisoners of war, and seven to honor veterans of all major conflicts dating back to World War I.
Vietnam veteran Wayne Kidd, 71, fund-raising chairman, says the city donated four acres for the memorial walk, which will be interactive, with volunteers leading educational tours.
Groundbreaking has already begun and the concrete walk is in place. A ceremony to show off progress so far is set for 10 a.m. Nov. 9 and is expected to draw about 400 people. Completion is slated for Veterans Day 2014.
The 50-member Johns Creek Veterans Association is accepting donations at www.johnscreekga.gov/jcva, but Sabrina is already making the rounds in the area to solicit funds.
When Sabrina heard about the park, she wanted to take part, and homed in on a mission to raise funds for the “Women in Service” monument. She has overcome hear nervousness about public speaking to make the rounds of local businesses.
“I’m doing this to honor women in service,” she says. “But it’s also my project to earn my Silver Award, the highest award in Girl Scouts Cadettes. You have to do a sustainable project, and this will be here forever. It’ll be a reminder of all Americans who’ve served.”
She’s held bake sales and uses a “tri-fold” like an advertising prop to show what the park and memorial walk will look like.
“My parents take me to businesses and I go to business meetings and make my pitch,” she says. “I used to be really shy. But now I’m getting in front of CEOs.”
So far she’s raised about $3,000 and has no doubt she’ll meet her goal early next year. She is also making coloring books with patriotic themes to contribute to day care centers and schools.
“She has always been very determined and driven,” says dad Rudy Yvellez of his daughter, who weighed just over a pound at birth. “She’s been a fighter since Day One. I was very happy to see her choose a project that could benefit the community.”
Her mother Brenda says her daughter, now in 8th grade, is passionate about veterans, in part because her dad and many family members served.
“Sabrina has done a number of festivals and other things to raise money,” Brenda says.
City Manager John Kachmar, a Vietnam vet, says the youth’s effort “sends a strong message to her peers, to the community and to us veterans that we shouldn’t take for granted what vets did and are doing on our behalf.”
Gerry Lewis, president of the JCVA, says Johns Creek has at least 3,000 veterans and decided the new town needed a place to honor them.
“Our goal is for the Walk to become a city landmark, a quiet, tranquil place where people choose to come and visit,” he says.
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