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The original item was published from 7/21/2016 1:59:00 PM to 8/3/2016 12:05:03 AM.

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Posted on: July 12, 2016

[ARCHIVED] Tony Gwynn Memorial Groundbreaking Pays Tribute to Hometown Hero

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With the Lake Poway ball field as a back drop, Poway community members came together to honor their “hometown hero” at the July 11 Tony Gwynn memorial groundbreaking ceremony. The site will be home to a 10-foot bronze likeness that captures Gwynn waving to the crowd with one arm, while hold his daughter Anisha in the other.

Gwynn is widely acknowledged as the greatest San Diego Padres player in the team’s history and one of the best Major League hitters of his time. The Poway memorial reflects not only Gwynn as an athlete, but also what he meant to the community.

“The world knew him as a legendary ballplayer,” said Poway Mayor Steve Vaus, “but we knew him as friend, neighbor, family man and community contributor. He was Poway’s hometown hero.”

Speaking to the crowd, Tony’s widow Alicia poignantly thanked Poway for helping keep Tony's memory alive and shared why he loved this community so much:

“He said ‘I love Poway because they allow me to be a family man, they allow me to be just Tony. They don’t always look at me as a baseball player. I’m one of the neighbors.’”

The mayor reflected on Poway’s “can do spirit” and shared how readily the community rallied to make this memorial happen solely on community contributions. He announced that as of the weekend, donations officially exceeded the $150,000 fundraising goal.

The statue was designed by Texas artist Seth Vandable after a nationwide search. The memorial will also include a donor wall recognizing gifts of $250 and above. It is expected to be completed by early 2017.

Major contributors to date include:

Hall of Fame ($25,000)

Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Fevelukis / Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Pelligrino

All Stars ($10,000)

San Diego Padres

In-kind Donations ($10,000 and above)

San Diego Granite

Swinerton Builders

Terra Firma Landscape

Cossentinos – Dekton

Grand Slam ($5,000)

Supervisor Dianne Jacob, County of San Diego

Bill and Tina Howe, Bill Howe Plumbing

Bill and Liz Leader , El Cajon Ford

Craig Abbott, Walmart

Michael Schlesinger, Stone Ridge Country Club

Uri Feldman, Maderas Country Club

Ryan and Dan Whitaker, Whitaker Investments

To view photos, go to the City of Poway's Facebook page. To watch highlights, click here.

Learn about the memorial and how to donate...
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