SANTA FE — Del Norte Credit Union (DNCU), Northern New Mexico’s hometown financial cooperative, is proud to announce a rededication of Valdez Park at 11:30 a.m., Monday, Jan. 30.
The rededication will honor Vietnam hero Petty Officer Phil Valdez for whom the Española park is named, as well as salute all men and women who serve our country with honor.
Valdez, who was born in Dixon and attended Española High School, was awarded the Navy Cross for his heroic actions in saving the lives of two Marines while under fire.
The U.S.S. Valdez, a destroyer escort launched March 24, 1973, honored him as well. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Phil’s passing, and DNCU is making certain that his bravery is not forgotten. There will be Color and Honor Guard presentations at the celebration and speeches from dignitaries and Valdez family members.
“Del Norte Credit Union staff chose to adopt Valdez Park in 2015 and contribute to the community by helping to revitalize this vital community asset. In doing so, we were amazed to learn about the history of the person behind the park name. Phil Valdez represents the best in all of us and we are honored to play a small part in sharing his story,” DNCU Executive Vice President John Molenda said.
Valdez Park also commemorates Venessa Valerio, an Espanola resident who lost her life at a very young age as the result of a crime. As a memorial to Venessa, Espanola’s first public playground was built nearly 23 years ago on the park grounds. Valdez Park also has a new community garden, created by the Tewa Women United group and built with the help of many volunteers.
Parking/wheelchair access will be available at the Lucero Recreation Center parking (south side of City Hall, on Paseo de Oñate), and limited parking will be available on Vietnam Veterans Mem. Park Rd. (north side of City Hall). In event of severe weather, event will be held in the Lucero Recreation Center Gym. The event is free and open to the public.