A collection of local, regional and national organizations helped make the new Blue Star Memorial Highways monument at the Hesperia Lake Park a reality. But it was the Hesperia Garden Club that truly brought it to life.


"Without the Hesperia Garden Club, the state organization wouldn't be as strong as it is," George Unrine, the Southern California representative for Blue Star Memorial Highways, said during last Saturday's Veterans Day Celebration at the park's War Memorial site.


Blue Star Memorial Highways pay tribute to U.S. armed forces.The National Garden Club started the program in the 1940s, after World War II.


Not only did the local garden club help bring the new stone memorial, but with the help of botanical donations from Cal Herbold's Nursery the group planted patriotic patches of red, white and blue flowers.


Pat Banttari, the president of the Hesperia Garden Club, was quick to thank others for joining in. Helping to fund the memorial marker project were Principal Financial and national and state garden clubs. Banttari also thanked Blue Star committee chair Irene Smith for her direction.


Garden club member Robbie Kuykendall, a Gold Star mother who lost her son when he served in Vietnam in 1968, gave a heartfelt address and shared several bible scriptures:


"God is always standing by our side in moments of despair," Kuykendall said. "He's our friend and our guide."