Engraved pavers memorialize vets at Hoover’s Veterans Park

By AMY JONES / Associate Editor

HOOVER — The city of Hoover is offering veterans’ families a way to honor their loved ones through purchasing memorial pavers, to be placed in Veterans Park on Valleydale Road.

The program, which began in 2007, is offering at least 1,000 pavers to be engraved with veterans’ names, rank, branch and dates of service. Of that 1,000, 305 have been ordered, leaving around 700 available to be engraved, said Hoover Mayor Gary Ivey.

“We hope many people will participate through the years,” Ivey said. “There’s so many pavers available because we have all that brick out there at Veterans Park. We just pull up the bricks and put them down. We just have a lot of room to grow.”

Brick pavers are $100 apiece and measure 4 inches by 12 inches. Engraving on these pavers is limited to three lines, with 24 characters per line.

Bench pavers, special pavers forming borders in front of the benches at Veterans Park, are reserved for those killed in action.

Engraving on the bench pavers is limited to four lines with 36 characters per line. There will also be a line that reads “Killed in Action.”

Those applying for a bench paver must provide a Purple Heart citation, and the veteran, or a parent, child or spouse of the veteran, must have been a Hoover citizen at the time of the veteran’s death. Also, the veteran’s death must have occurred on or after the incorporation of the city of Hoover in 1967.

Bench pavers are free of charge, although donations may be made to the Hoover Park and Recreation Foundation to support the memorial.

Ivey said bench pavers are free because those veterans have already paid with their lives.

“We feel like they paid the ultimate sacrifice, and that’s the least we can do,” he said.

Ivey said he believes citizens wholeheartedly support the memorial.

“I think people are pleased that the city is recognizing veterans, and touched that we haven’t forgotten them,” he said. “It’s the three ‘r’s: Recognition, respect and remembrance for our veterans.”

To apply, visit Hooveral.org and click on “Veterans Park Memorial Paver” under Hoover Happenings. A printable application is available, as well as an online application.