ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

 

The Bataan memorial is now a reality because of the hard work, persistence, and cooperation of many individuals and organizations. The Bataan Veterans Organization, Albuquerque Chapter never let the promise of 57 years ago to be forgotten. Leo Padilla, Agapito Silva, and Ernest Montoya, survivors of the Bataan Death March and slave camps in Japan and Manchuria, for many years have lobbied the City of Albuquerque and some State legislators for the memorial. They persevered against many adversities, never losing site of their dream of having their and their comrades’ contribution to freedom be remembered by generations of New Mexicans to come.

 

Collen Frenz, manager of Parks and Trail Management, City of Albuquerque Department of Parks and Recreation, whose love of country and respect for the sacrifices made by the soldiers of New Mexico who fought during WWII and especially the members of the 200th and 515th Coast Artillery, decided that the time for the Memorial has come. David Flores, project manager, whose earnestness and enthusiasm made the members of the Bataan-Corregidor Memorial Foundation believe that the Memorial would be ready by April 7, 2002. John Casados and his construction crew for their hard work in completing the construction on time. Bill Worthen for finishing the beautiful granite columns ahead of schedule.

 

Bill Perkins, landscape architect, always mindful of the historical significance of the Memorial. Bill made sure that every design element in the Memorial was respectful of the veterans, sensitive to the demands of the Neighborhood Association, and consistent with the historic status of Bataan Memorial Park. The New Mexico State Historic Preservation Office for insisting that the Memorial make the least impact on the integrity of the existing Memorial Park.

 

The New Mexico State Legislators, Cisco McSorely, Gail Beam, Shannon Robinson, Danice Picraux, and William H. Payne who allocated the money for the improvement of the Bataan Memorial Park. Tom Rutherford, Bernalillo County Commissioner, District 3 has been very supportive of the Memorial from the beginning. Eric Griegos, Albuquerque City Councilor, District 5, pledged to help with the dedication ceremony and designated his very conscientious and indefatigable assistant, Kelli Austin. Kelli helped coordinate and secure some of the logistics for the ceremony.

 

MaryAnn Saavedra-Jones and Yvette, from the Hispano Chamber of Commerce, lent their experience in events planning and facilitated the hotel and dinner arrangements for the Bataan veterans and their families. MaryAnn sacrificed her week-ends and evenings to track down vendors, secure contracts at the cheapest rate possible, and recruit the Albuquerque High School ROTC to assist during the dedication ceremony. In addition, she also used her own money to buy ribbons and name plates for the occasion.

 

The Board of Directors of the Bataan-Corregidor Memorial Foundation who never gave up on the Memorial spent numerous hours lobbying state legislators for funding, attending public meetings, and reviewing construction documents and historical materials. The list of names would not have been completed on time without Bernadett Charley Gallegos and Georgianna Peña-Kues. For months, Bernadett Charley Gallegos examined numerous military archives and databases, poured over news articles and obituaries, and cross-referenced them with the list compiled by Elmer Long, Jr., and the lists in Beyond Courage by Dorothy Cave and It Tolled for New Mexico by Eva Jane Matson. Georgianna Peña-Kues spent an inordinate amount of time reviewing the list for accuracy of spelling, accents, titles and designations. Andrew Miller, Bataan survivor and historian, whose knowledge of military history and protocol always steered us back to the right track and constantly reminded us to “keep things simple!” The technological adroitness of Ted Jojola simplified our data processing. His artistic ability made the souvenir program look professionally done. Bill Overmier whose resourcefulness always found the right person for tasks needed. Jack W. Bradley, who despite suffering from a debilitating illness, wrote the history of the 200th and 515th. Ernest Montoya for keeping our accounts accurate and up-to-date. Jack Block for attending endless planning meetings.

 

Many individuals dedicated their time and energy to make the dedication ceremony successful. The New Mexico National Guard, Adjutant-General Randall Horn and his staff, Lt. Virginia Garcia and LtCol. Albert Shrecengost who doggedly pursued our request for a band, color guard and firing squad far in advance, and eased the anxiety of not having a noteworthy dedication ceremony. TSgt Joseph Gonzales and the 44th Army National Guard Band for providing the music at the dedication. Senator Pete Domenici and his staff assistant, Lisa Breeden, for securing the fly-over. SMSgt. Patrick Dunn and the Special Operations Wing from Kirtland Air Force Base for making the fly-over possible.

 

Tommy Harris, widow of Bataan veteran and Bataan-Corregidor Memorial Foundation Board of Directors member Earl Harris, helped raise funds and attended all the planning meetings for the dedication ceremony after her husband passed away. Dean Harris, in honor of his late father, donated his time and money to help secure the needed logistics. Georgianna Peña-Kues tightly monitored and coordinated the planning activities, leaving nothing to chance.

 

The Filipino-American community of Albuquerque knowing the veterans would be nostalgic for Filipino food and entertainment took on the challenge. The Rondalla Maharlika, a traditional Filipino string ensemble led by Ernesto Quilban, regaled the veterans and their families during the April 6th dinner. The Filipino-American Association of New Mexico, the Rio Grande Filipino-American Association and the Samahang Maharlika, for putting their collective efforts to prepare Filipino delicacies for the occasion. And special thanks go to Cora Romillo, Pearl King, Letty Wickham, Myrna and Rhea Ramirez, Anthony Lagasca, and Ruth for donating trays of noodles and eggrolls.

 

Thanks also go to the following: Ron and Editha Saludo for helping to secure chairs free of charge from Kirtland Air Force Base; the Albuquerque High School ROTC and Filipino American soldiers of the 58th Special Operations Wing for assisting with things that needed to be done during the ceremony; Betty and Don Salisbury and the Samahang Maharlika for covering and tying ribbons around the columns and the map of the Philippines, and Hedi Long for making sure that the spiritual aspect of the celebration was not left out. To Reverend Monsignor Leo Lucero for representing Archbishop Sheehan.

 

Finally, to countless others who helped in a small way to make the dedication ceremony successful. To all of you our most heartfelt gratitude.

 

The Following individuals and organizations opened their pocket books to ensure the success of the Bataan Memorial dedication:

 

Dean R. and Cheryl L. Harris

Dessert Eagle Engineering

Rhombus, Inc., Celia Tomlinson, Pres.

Ta Lin International Market, Inc.

Bernadett Charley Gallegos

Pinoy Express, Myrna Ramirez, Pres.

Ted Jojola and Dely Alcantara

Andrew Miller

Cipriano Ramirez

Jack C. Block

Michael Montoya

Money Concepts, Teem Suelto, Pres.

PRS2 Group

Georgianna Peña-Kues

Don and Betty Salisbury

Tommy Harris

Betty Baldonado

Wally Byam Caravan Club

Robert E. and Margaret S. Da

George E. Jacobsmeyer

Thelma Pelayo

Robert E. Davis

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