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New memorial on Treasure Coast to be 'source of healing' for veterans' families

'There’s pain associated with this and hopefully this will be a source of healing for those families,' councilman David Pickett says
Posted at 6:33 PM, Apr 10, 2024

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Florida is currently home to 1.4 million veterans, the third largest veteran population in the country.

Next week, a new memorial will be dedicated on the Treasure Coast for veterans who’ve served in our most recent conflicts abroad.

At Veterans Memorial Park in Port St. Lucie, where soldiers are remembered, the families behind them are honored, and the missing are never forgotten, a new memorial is taking shape.

A 19,000-pound granite structure that just came south from Vermont will be part of the memorial. Now, those Florida soldiers who died in our most recent wars will be forever immortalized.

Port St. Lucie Councilman David Pickett pointed at the name Brandon Wadman—a 19 year-old who died in 2004.

Port St. Lucie Councilman David Pickett memorial in Port St. Lucie April 10 2024
Port St. Lucie Councilman David Pickett shares how the memorial will benefit veterans' families.

“He was a soldier who served in my company and tragically was killed three days after we got into Afghanistan,” he said.

Pickett was approached two years ago by Steve Udovich with the idea for a new memorial.

“I just wanted something simple, to the point, with an outline of each country," Udovich said.

Udovich created the Iraq and Afghanistan War Memorial Foundation, and raised around $100,000 to get the memorial built. The foundation also looked at nearly 50 sites around the state, but Udovich liked what he saw in Port St. Lucie.

Steve Udovich created the Iraq and Afghanistan War Memorial Foundation April 10 2024.jpg
Steve Udovich created the Iraq and Afghanistan War Memorial Foundation and says Port St. Lucie was the ideal spot for this memorial.

“The way it’s maintained. Unfortunately, there are other veterans' parks around the state that are not as well maintained as Port St. Lucie," he said.

Taking a page from the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, the memorial is made from India black granite, and lists the 349 names of Floridians who were killed, honoring their service and sacrifice.

“There’s pain associated with this and hopefully this will be a source of healing for those families," Pickett said.

The official dedication ceremony will take place April 20 at noon.