Aaron Savedra (right) assists city councilor Peter Romero in arranging bricks for Navy veterans. John Larson| El Defensor Chieftain

Larry Savedra of Edwards Construction in Lemitar is proud of the contribution he and his crew have accomplished in Isidro Baca Park. His outfit has overseen construction in the park honoring Socorro County veterans going back over six to seven years. Of note, is the park’s center sidewalk lined with monuments dedicated to each of America’s military branches, along with a separate one featuring Isidro Baca.

“We did all these monuments,” Savedra said. “Poured all the concrete and set the plaques on the front of each moment. Lots of work. Today we’re laying the bricks.”

Besides the monuments, an effort that began four years back is taking shape. The addition of names of veterans, each etched in red brick, to line the sidewalk.As of last week, 50 additional names were enshrined at the park.

City Councilor Peter Romero said the project is still not complete. “It’s been a very slow process,” he said. “This last bunch of bricks took a long time to get because the company that we contract with only takes 50 bricks at a time. We added 37 more bricks, so now we can get them laid alongside each of the service branch monuments.”

He has hopes that the next batch of bricks will come faster, which means another order of 50 names.
Bricks US Army

The array of Army veterans separated out to be installed. Veterans of the Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard are also represented. John Larson| El Defensor Chieftain

“The idea behind this brick project is to honor veterans who have come and gone,” Romero said. “And also to honor current military personnel. Our activeduty members of the armed forces can have a brick. We want generations to come to be able to take pride in their family members’ contributions.

“I hope we can get people excited about getting a brick for their veterans,” Romero said. “I’d like to see 200 or more bricks by Memorial Day.”

The cost is $35 per brick, and forms are available at Socorro City Hall.

“This is a very positive thing,” Utilities Director Lloyd Martinez said. “Especially with what’s going on now.”

The idea took shape a few years ago, Martinez added, following the installation of the monuments and plaques across from city hall.

“We wanted to balance out the two parks on each side of the plaza. Larry did the park in front of city hall, the mayor’s plaques and all. We had the idea to do something over here. The design started over there first,” Martinez said. “This whole park came together with the mayor, former city clerk Pat Salome, Peter, and me. It was a combined effort of the city.”

Romero singled out longtime city employee Rick “Chick” Griego.

“Chick was chief supervisor for transforming the park and an instrumental architect,” he said. “But really, nothing gets done without support from many people. Multiple people and multiple departments all took part when needed.”

The park is also home to the Vietnam Wall honoring all New Mexicans killed or missing in that war, the pyramid commemorating Socorro County servicemen killed in Vietnam, and the World War II Bataan Memorial remembering Socorro County veterans of the 515th and 200th Coast Artillery in The Philippines. It stands in front of one of the anti-aircraft artillery pieces used. At the head of the park is a chunk of “Jumbo,” a relic from the Trinity Test at White Sands.