By Kelly Corsette
Residents of Scottsdale and the nearby Native American communities have served with distinction in the United States military for more than a century. On a number of occasions, these service members paid the ultimate price for our freedom. While their loss was certainly felt and shared by their families and friends, there has been no permanent public acknowledgement of their individual sacrifices – a new memorial will change that.
Scottsdale was not incorporated until June 1951, and Scottsdale’s corporate boundaries have been modified several times. However, the desire of Scottsdale residents to serve our country in the military has never waned. A group of Scottsdale residents, in partnership with the city of Scottsdale, believe it is now time to honor our fallen military residents (the Fallen).
On June 30, 2014, a group of Scottsdale residents formed the City of Scottsdale Memorial Action Committee (COSMAC). This committee discussed the possibility of designing and building a permanent and personal memorial to commemorate Scottsdale area residents who were lost during military service to the nation. Major Jim Geiser, a longtime Scottsdale resident and United States Marine, has led the effort from its inception.
The committee’s initial focus included research to identify the individuals to include on the memorial and fundraising to build it. COSMAC selected a design team that completed conceptual design and then began working on final design of the memorial. The City of Scottsdale has committed to providing a site for the memorial adjacent to the Chaplain monument on the grounds of Scottsdale City Hall.
To date, 66 individuals have been identified for the memorial. Military accomplishments of those on the current list include: one Distinguished Service Cross, one Silver Star, three Distinguished Flying Crosses, eleven Bronze Stars, five Air Medals, and two POW Medals.
In 2017, the COSMAC received State Corporation status and approval from the IRS as a Section 501(c)(3) charitable organization. The legal name of this corporation is Scottsdale Memorial for the Fallen, Inc. (SMFTF). The SMFTF board consists of five volunteers and is self-administered. SMFTF’s current work consists solely of fundraising at this time and its experience is limited in this area, according to the group. SMFTF is debt free for all of the design work completed to date and is seeking funds for the permitting and construction with the goal of a formal dedication before or on Memorial Day 2022.
The design drawings are nearing completion and City of Scottsdale approval is forthcoming. Although the formal construction bid process has not yet been initiated, a target fundraising goal has been set at $200,000.
To date SMFTF has raised nearly $150,000. Those who wish to donate to this project can do so via the Arizona Community Foundation (azfoundation.org). To learn more, Major Jim Geiser can be reached by texting 602-615-8862.