Veterans Day is just around the corner, and the village of Corrales is organizing a special way for veterans to be recognized and remembered each year. And you can get involved too, supplying photos of family and friends who served our country in the military.
Deputy Clerk Skye Devivi curates the different displays that grace the village administrative offices each month. For November this year, she came up with an idea that blends two established ways of honoring veterans – Hometown Heroes and Operation Gratitude.
“My dad served in the U.S. Air Force and is buried up in Santa Fe,” said Devivi with a first-hand appreciation for veterans. “I’ve seen other towns and cities that honored vets as Hometown Heroes and I wanted to do something similar here.”
Devivi is asking anyone who served in one of the branches of the military, a family member who did or a friend to bring the photo into the village administration building, 4324 Corrales Road, during regular business hours. A copy of the photo will be made, and the original will be returned to you.
“We’ll display them here at the village office and when we’re done we’ll house them at the library for future Corralenos to say, ‘That’s my father,’ or ‘That’s my grandfather,” she said.
The photos can be of active duty or retired veterans in any branch of service, not just Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines.
“We took it a little further and are including National Guard, Space Force and K-9,” she said.
But hurry. Devivi needs them by Friday, Oct. 27 to make it into the exhibit. The display will be up from Nov. 1 through Dec. 4.
Devivi said she already got a good start, just from village employees who heard about the display. Mayor Jim Fahey, Michael Chavez and Benito Gonzales from the Public Works Department, Code Compliance Officer Sherie Rice, and Police Det. Julie Rogers have all contributed photos. She also worked with VFW Post 5432 Commander Terry Brown on the project.
Commander Brown said it is important to remember those who dedicated some part of their lives – and sometimes their life itself – for serving our country. A relatively small portion of the population served so that we all can live our lives as we’re accustomed,” he said.
“I really support this program,” he said. “I think any time we can have the public see the faces of the people who have served this country.”
Brown said he’s spreading the word to the other nearly 70 members of the VFW Post to add more photos to the collection.
In addition to photos, Devivi is collecting letters, photos and drawings as part of Operation Gratitude, another way to thank vets and those currently serving in the military.
Operation Gratitude, a national non-profit that supports active duty and veterans at home and abroad, sends care packages to deployed troops, veterans, wounded soldiers and first responders. They packages include personal letters of gratitude from people who appreciate their service and sacrifice to the country.
“The letters, photos and drawing are appreciated the most, because it ties them back to their home,” Devivi said.
The village will collect material through Dec. 8. The messages will then be sent to Operation Gratitude, which distributes the packages.
Be advised there are some guidelines for the letters, a copy of which can be picked up at the village office. Or email Devivi at email@example.com.