September 1, 2023 - Stories
By Lisa Hopper
Photo courtesy of Lou Waters at the Memorial site overlooking the Santa Catalina Mountains.
With reinvigorated support and fundraising efforts, the Arizona Heroes Memorial is becoming a reality. The plans are in place thanks to WLB Group, Schnieder Structural Parson Steel, and the much-anticipated signatures on the second group of permits by the Town of Oro Valley.
Spencer Construction, our premier sponsor and general contractor leading the project, can begin clearing and excavating on the 2.5 acres site located in Naranja Park in the weeks to come. Lisa Hopper, Executive Director, says, “This is an exciting time to see this vision become a reality. There are a lot of people that have been anxiously waiting for this moment and I am very honored and humbled to be a part of this historic memorial. We have faced and are now conquering monumental obstacles to get this done thanks to our amazing supporters.”
Building this Memorial in Arizona provides many advantages for the state and its residents. Notably, we can honor and remember our heroes, as well as provide education, tours, and community activities for years to come.
Construction began shortly after the groundbreaking and underground demolition in March 2023. It signaled the ushering in of a new generation of champions for our military, first responders and healthcare workers heroes like Patrick Spencer (Spencer Construction).
Honoring our heroes is important to residents within the state of Arizona. Their stories cannot be overlooked. Once completed, the Arizona Heroes Memorial will be prominently featured on Oro Valley’s skyline, reminding us of the importance this site will play for future generations.
Tommy Padden is a Tucson-based filmmaker originally from New York City. Tommy is theOwner and Creative Director of On Deck Production Company. With a passion for documentary-style storytelling, Tommy is dedicated to bringing people’s visions to life. He is particularly excited to showcase the Arizona Heroes Memorial, capturing the essence of these heroic stories through impactful visual documentation.
Pat Johnston is an accomplished musician, radio host, photographer, and film producer. Combining his love of radio, music, experience in recording, and strong management background, he soon transitioned to become the Chief Operating Officer and General Manager of KJLL Am 1330 in Tucson, a privately owned radio station. After many successful years in the radio business, he began Johnston Marketing LLC, a full-service marketing media company serving accounts such as Maaco, Robson Communities, Tucson Gem and Mineral Society and several local businesses in Tucson.
To commemorate this momentous event, Johnston and Padden have teamed up to create a documentary series and photoset of the Arizona Heroes Memorial. Johnston stated that their art of storytelling “highlights the history, process of construction, the impact this memorial will have on people it touches and how it all intertwines with personal values, faith, and hope”. It is especially heartening to see young creatives like Tommy express such dedication to this project. Moreover, they have received support from other volunteers in crafting a narrative for the memorial, to honor those who serve in the service industries.
If you would like to make a contribution, go to AZHEROESMEMORIAL.ORG or Arizona Heroes Memorial P.O. Box 69712 Oro Valley Az. 85737. Thank you for your support.