78 years of history in the Clovis Veterans Memorial District

On Tuesday, June 11, the Clovis Veterans Memorial District (CVMD) celebrated 78 years since it was founded.

It all started in a downtown Clovis coffee shop, in which four men began discussing a living memorial dedicated to Clovis veterans. The mother of George (Tink) Kastner, one of those four men, generously donated land located between Veterans Parkway, then called “Hughes Parkway”, and 5th Street, the same location the building stands in today.

Five members of the community were elected to the Board of Directors for the District: John B. Andreis, Ira Arbuckle, Carl S. Merriman, Carl Larson, and David E. Peckinpah.

Later, Rex Phebus came in as Managing Director of the special District. The memory of Rex’s appointment to this role has certainly not been forgotten – his daughter, Kelly Phebus, lives on recalling the experiences of his direction for the District for 30 years, devoting innumerable time towards the strengthening of the community.

Kelly Phebus recalls how the building once had a gymnasium where teenagers could have fun while staying out of trouble. As well as the many recreational programs offered by the District within the gymnasium, the public could freely use weight machines that were donated by the community as well as the basketball courts, ping-pong tables, and a pool table.

Rex Phebus’ impact towards the community was duly noted after his retirement, upon which the District chose to have the building named after him.

Today, the building displays various memorials dedicated to Clovis veterans. One such memorial is The Garden of Honor, dedicated to veterans who gave their lives during World War I & II, Vietnam, Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Persian Gulf. In this memorial, colorful flowers surround a pool symbolizing “Tears from a Grateful Heart” and the names of Clovis veterans who gave their lives in these conflicts are etched across the walls.

Other memorials in the District are called “The Last Full Measure of Devotion,” “On Behalf of a Grateful Nation,” “Trust In Me, My Friend,” and the Pinedale Assembly Center Remembrance Plaza.

All of the memorials tell a different story about military history in Clovis and the unforgettable sacrifice countless service members have made throughout the years.

“A tradition of excellence in a community of excellence”: this is the value the Clovis Veterans Memorial District has sought to uphold since it was first formed in 1946. Since then, the CVMD has become a pillar of the Clovis community. It continues to proudly uphold its initial mission to honor U.S. Military and Veterans and serve the community.

However, memorials are not the only way this District serves the community today– it also does so through community events to strengthen bonds between the people of Clovis and to display respect for our military. Some of these events include the Sweethearts Dance, Patriots Dinner, 9/11 Tribute, and Halloween Spooktacular.