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Long-awaited Veterans Memorial Walkway dedicated at HPH Hospice

 
Leslie Taylor of HPH Hospice says the response by donors to the Veterans Memorial Walkway was incredible. “When you mention veterans, they were stumbling over themselves to help.”
Leslie Taylor of HPH Hospice says the response by donors to the Veterans Memorial Walkway was incredible. “When you mention veterans, they were stumbling over themselves to help.”
Published Nov. 20, 2014

SPRING HILL — The installation of a memorial walkway honoring veterans, which had languished on the drawing board since HPH Hospice's Sturgill Hospice Care Center was constructed five years ago on Cortez Boulevard, has become reality.

The walk was dedicated Thursday by its sponsors from the local business community.

Fruition of the Veterans Memorial Walkway project seemed to slip from notice, maybe due to the expected cost of several thousand dollars, officials said.

But HPH Hospice couldn't have imagined the community's largesse, conceded Leslie Taylor, the hospice foundation director who oversaw the project.

"Once you mention hospice, they open their wallets," Taylor said of donors. "When you mention veterans, they were stumbling over themselves to help. The outpouring was just incredible."

In February, hospice We Honor Veterans volunteers Sherry Adler-Whitford and Richard Whitford of Spring Hill — he is also a military veteran — inquired about the memorial, sparking the fire to get it under way, Taylor said.

"We went out to local businesses," Taylor said. "Not one of them I asked said no."

Flagstone Pavers of Brooksville donated bricks, a colorful assortment of slate gray, rose, sand and a variegation of the hues.

IDS Pavers of Spring Hill installed them in a pleasing pattern.

District 21 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars donated $1,600 to purchase a U.S. flag and flagpole for the walkway's focal point.

Unfortunately, said Taylor, a large tree on the site had to go. Tree Care by Robert Miller of Brooksville removed it for free.

Lowe's of Brooksville designated the walkway as the store's Heroes Project, providing a $1,200 grant for landscaping around the installation and to give a lift to the courtyard landscaping behind the care center.

Lowe's employees volunteered a day's work digging up turf and planting shrubs — plus a replacement tree for the one that had to be removed.

U.S. Lawns of New Port Richey donated irrigation hookups for the landscaping, while City Electric Supply of Brooksville provided lights, and McLoud Electric of Brooksville installed the lighting and took care of other electrical needs.

Thunder Bay Builders of Spring Hill gave $1,500 to purchase plaques paying appreciation to veterans and to the project sponsors.

HPH Hospice feted representatives of each of the sponsors at the dedication ceremony.

Contact Beth Gray at graybethn@earthlink.net.