Google helps pay to repair vandalized South Bay Vietnam veterans' memorial

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Tech giant Google will help cover the cost of repairs to a South Bay veterans' memorial that was vandalized two weeks ago.

Vandals defaced the Sons of San Jose Vietnam Veterans Memorial for the second time in two years. The monument stands just steps from the SAP Center along West Santa Clara Street.

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San Jose Vietnam War Memorial Foundation board members said this time, acid burned into the granite.

"According to the guys who were fixing it, the guys who did it this time were actually trying to vandalize it and leave their mark there forever," said board member Dennis Fernandez.

But the community have been more determined than the culprits.

James Reber with the San Jose Parks Foundation got involved and opened online donations for others who were outraged over the blatant disrespect.

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Sandra Fernandez, another Memorial Foundation board member, explained how quickly donations from the community trickled in.

"Within I would say about two hours we started to receive $5 donations, $10 donations, $100, then $200," Sandra said.

She said repairs to the war memorial are estimated at $2,500 to $3,000.

Google's contribution hasn't been disclosed, but ABC7 News is told the tech giant has put the campaign over the top.

"They've made it so that we clean it up, pay the cost, and then have some in the bank for any future maintenance," San Jose Parks Foundation Executive Director Reber said.

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Reber added, "Google has been good to the Parks Foundation in general, but this was an exceptional sort of surprise. I didn't go asking them. They just stepped up and did it."

In an official release, Google's Public Affairs Manager Javier Gonzalez said, "Google is proud to lend a hand as a corporate citizen of San Jose by funding the restoration and preservation of this important local monument honoring local San Joseans."

The hope is the money will be used for regular maintenance and not for vandalism repair.

"They didn't get to come home," Sandra said about the men whose names are engraved onto the memorial. "Some of them didn't get to get married, they didn't get to have children, they didn't get to retire and their names are on the wall for a reason."

Sandra said more buffing is needed to return the war memorial to pristine condition. She and other board members noted that Steven Aguilar and his team at Sureshine Care and Restoration in Morgan Hill have been instrumental with their repair work.

Sandra's husband Dennis said the clean-up effort is personal to him and his family as he served alongside the 142 San Jose residents who lost their lives in the Vietnam War.

"I would hope these guys would go back and get an education about U.S. history, the Vietnam War, what we did, why that memorial is there," he said, addressing the vandals.
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