New Braunfels officials attended two ribbon-cutting ceremonies Thursday with Comal County officials, veterans, police officers, members of the Gold Star family, advocacy groups and representatives from the New Braunfels American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars marking the unveiling of the Veterans Memorial and the Celebrating the opening of the new 76,200 square meter Police Department Headquarters.
Council members approved the concept for a new Veterans Memorial in 2015. Voters approved $36.3 million for the new NBPD Headquarters and Veterans Memorial in the city’s 2019 Loan Loan Program.
In June 2019, the city acquired two lots totaling approximately 12 acres on the 3000 block of West San Antonio Street across from the Comal County Sheriff’s Office headquarters and near the Comal County Jail for approximately $1.9 million -Dollar.
The Veterans Memorial ceremony began with an honor guard procession consisting of veterans and first responders who unveiled flags representing all branches of the armed forces as well as American and POW/MIA flags, with New Braunfels High School choir member Arianna Powell performed the national anthem.
“They are our people,” New Braunfels Mayor Rusty Brockman said after the procession. “These are men and women. They are firefighters and police officers and they are city employees. They are city councillors. And I’m so proud to stand here and be part of this ceremony.”
Art Guerro, New Braunfels Police Chaplain, delivered an appeal.
The memorial, an etched granite structure honoring branches of the US military, includes the names of local service members who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving their country.
“The men and women whose names are engraved behind me on this beautiful memorial made the ultimate sacrifice,” said VFW District 5 Commander Martin Monceballez. “The kids — 17, 18 years old — when they get out of high school, they join the ministry. Many of them leave knowing that they want to serve their country and do good, and also want to be part of the community and come back and be part of the community. But unfortunately, many of them didn’t have that opportunity.”
American Legion Post 179 commander Don Ingram thanked New Braunfels residents and city leaders for “recognizing and remembering our veterans who were born and raised or who have chosen to make this great city their home.” .
“This monument befits a royal city—a prince’s city,” said Ingram, referring to Prince Carl von Solms-Braunfels, who founded New Braunfels more than 150 years ago. “And that’s why it’s even more fitting for the courageous men and women who fought and died and still fight for freedom, democracy and the ideals that our Constitution enshrines for all citizens of this great nation.”
Ingram continued, saying the memorial “also stands in stark contrast to today’s culture, where the term ‘hero’ is often misused.”
“Actors, athletes, politicians and fantasy figures are not the heroes we should celebrate or emulate with monuments or statues because real heroes don’t wear capes, masks or fancy shoes,” said Ingram. “Real heroes wear dog tags.”
The memorial’s primary seal panel, facing the entrance of the new police building, contains seals of all branches along with the words: “All gave. Some gave it their all.”
The memorial also includes plaques representing each branch, including the US Space Force, which was created on December 20, 2019 with the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2020.
The plaque representing the army reads, “Loyalty. Duty. Respect. Selfless Service. To honor. Integrity. Personal courage.”
Separate plaques depicting the Marines and the Navy read, “Honour. Courage. Obligation.”
The Air Force body reads, “Integrity first. service to self. Excellence in everything we do.” and the Coast Guard Panel declares: “Honour. Respect. devotion to duty.”
The plaque depicting the Space Force reads “Always Above”.
In 2018, Austin-based firm Luck Design was commissioned by the police department architect, Houston-based PGAL, to provide a preliminary design and cost estimate for the project for potential inclusion in the 2019 bond program.
According to officials, Luck Design provided conceptual renderings and design work free of charge to keep the original costs down. City leaders formed a committee of city veterans, members of the Gold Star family, and members of local VFW and American Legion posts to review and finalize the memorial’s imagery and contents.
Following the memorial’s unveiling, residents were invited to attend a ceremony that officially opened the new home of New Braunfels’ Finest, which replaced a 30,000-square-foot facility converted from a former lumberyard on South Seguin Avenue that has since Served as headquarters in 1997 .
The 62,300-foot main building features a training room, shipping area, offices, storage, conference rooms, expansion areas, and forensic labs. A 13,900 square foot annex houses the maintenance garage, gym and storage areas.
City Manager Robert Camareno recognized the New Braunfels residents who supported the project during the 2019 bond election process and looked forward to a possible 2023 bond election.
“We’re not done yet,” Camareno said. “We have so much more work to do in our community — so much more to invest in — so stay tuned.”
Police Chief Keith Lane said that visitors driving down West San Antonio Street would see on either side of the street “how incredibly supportive the county and city of New Braunfels are, not just to the military but to law enforcement.”
“It’s a testament to that community and your community, both your heart and your soul, your checkbook, that we cherish especially these days,” Lane said. “This is not a matter of course for us. What it also means to me is that you have an exceptional police department. I knew that about a week after I got here.”
Joeris General Contractors acted as prime contractor, Seidel Construction in a mentor-protégé partnership.