Valley man building memorial for veterans

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Even if you're not going to the NASCAR races next week, you might want to head out toward the track.

"I think we all want to say thank you, but I think we all just get busy," said 69-year-old Jay Humphrey. "I just want to say we do care."

On his prime piece of real estate by Phoenix International Raceway at 143rd Avenue and Indian Springs Road, Humphrey is putting the finishing touches on a veterans' tribute wall.

"We're wanting veterans and mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters to come out and write their loved one's name on this wall," he said. "We're hoping by the end of Veterans Day that this wall is just full of names."

With donated concrete and manpower, it's been a labor of love for him and his wife of 52 years.

"That's his, you know, dream, so I'm helping him to live his dream," Frances Humphrey said.

"I just got carried away," Jay Humphrey said. "At first, I went and put up a couple flags, and then I put up a couple more flags, and then the nursery came by and said, 'Let me put some plants out here,' and it just kept growing."

Humphrey was never in the military, but he grew up appreciating the sacrifices of those who were.

"When I was a young boy, I lived in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and I sold orange juice and sandwiches on the base," he said.

And with each yellow ribbon he has tied to a fence, he hopes his grandchildren will understand exactly what they've been helping him build.

"I want them to grow up knowing what a great country America is and that we all need to remember just how great it is," he said.

With one name already on the memorial, Humphrey hopes it will soon be a great wall of gratitude.

"It seems that things like this bring the good out in all of us," he said.