Donation efforts for the future Fallen Heroes Memorial in San Mateo Central Park is near the $300,000 goal, with final fundraising efforts underway before construction starts.

“We are enormously proud of our community and the organizations supporting the Fallen Heroes Memorial,” San Mateo Deputy Mayor Diane Papan said, who is vice chair of the city advisory committee for the memorial. “We are 20% away from our funding goal to construct what will be a fitting tribute to our hometown heroes that gave the ultimate sacrifice. The San Mateo community shall never forget them.”

The monument honors San Mateo community members who died while on duty for the military and San Mateo Police and Fire departments and will feature a red poppy design. The red poppy is a flower and worldwide symbol popularized after World War I in Europe to recognize and remember veterans who died. The design features seven vertical stainless steel column poppy pieces that unite to form a single poppy flower when viewed from a certain angle. Each of the seven columns will represent a branch of the military and the San Mateo emergency services and include the names of people who died in service going back to World War I. Flush-mount lighting at the base will show the names engraved on each monument, with two benches nearby. The memorial eligibility policy San Mateo officials set up means the site is only for those who died in the line of duty during a war and lived a portion of their life in San Mateo. There are currently around 59 names the city will add to the memorial.

In 2015, then-Mayor Maureen Freschet recommended creating a memorial in Central Park to recognize those from San Mateo who died while on duty, including public safety personnel. The council added a memorial plan to its Central Park Master Plan and created a committee of 11 people to oversee its creation. In 2018, the advisory committee picked a design, with a remembrance poppy design eventually getting council approval. Freschet is chair of the city advisory committee for the memorial, comprised of members of the City Council, veterans, retired police and fire representatives, community members and city staff. Freschet said the donations are off to a good start over the past year, with the committee closing in on reaching its final 20% goals. Donations were jump-started by significant contributions from the city and several large donor businesses, with community donations also critical.

“I’m really proud of our community and city stepping up and helping us. The memorial is a great way to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice,” Freschet said.

Freschet first looked at a memorial to tie together six scattered plaques throughout the park into a formal central location. She wanted to honor all of San Mateo’s fallen heroes and give families and friends a place to come and reflect. Freschet hopes to wrap up fundraising in the next few months and get started on construction, with the ambitious goal of completing memorial construction by Memorial Day 2023.

“I think it’s a great way to honor the families who have lost their loved ones,” Freschet said. “It’s giving them a place where they can go and letting them know their community recognizes the sacrifices they made as families.”

Patrice Olds, San Mateo city clerk and member of the advisory committee, said the city had raised about $240,000 of its $300,000 goal. The San Mateo City Council donated $50,000 from its general fund to help with the project. Once the committee completes fundraising efforts, the project will go out to bid. Olds noted veterans have come to City Hall for years to request the city honor and recognize their friends.

“I think it will speak to people. It will be a place of reflection,” Olds said. “A place of honor and a place of beauty and art.”

People can go to for more information about the memorial.

(650) 344-5200 ext. 102

(650) 344-5200 ext. 102


Curtis Driscoll covers transportation and the cities of San Mateo, Foster City, Belmont and Half Moon Bay. See my other articles:

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(1) comment


Thanks for the information. I thought I kept up with the local news but this is the first that I have heard of the project. I will be happy to donate to the cause.

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