Vietnam Vets Need More Money For Memorial Highway Signs

Drivers would never know a portion of a highway near Bakersfield was renamed for Vietnam veterans in 2006. Signs marking Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway have never gone up.

Some residents are trying to change that.

A local Vietnam veteran is raising money to help get a sign put up along a strectch of Taft Highway.

A group that includes veterans has launched a fundraising campaign to finally erect the signs on the roughly 13-mile stretch of Taft Highway between Highway 99 and Enos Lane.

They say people in the community should always remember the sacrifice those veterans made.

The stretch of road was designated Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway by California in 2006, but the state doesn't pay for the signs to let drivers know about the designation.

The group will need between $3,000 and $4,000 to put up the signs. The goal is to raise another few thousand dollars for ongoing maintenance and repairs.

By law, the state is not allowed to contribute to such signage, said Nicolas Esquivel of the California Department of Transportation.

A Vietnam veterans group previously raised money to erect the signs but then folded. Mario Muniz, who received a Purple Heart as a U.S. Marine, said that group was led by his friend Barney Cadena, a fellow Marine who died in a motorcycle crash a few years ago.

Muniz wants to realize his friend's vision regarding the signs.

"Marines take care of their own," he said. Organizers said any funds raised will go into a tax-exempt account held by Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 7216.

If you would like to help you can send your donation to: Larry Romero c/o VFW Post 7216 3125 St. Thomas Way Bakersfield, Ca 93306

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