FORT COLLINS, Colo. — For a veteran like Bob Loner, it felt like a gut punch.
On the evening of Sept. 12, someone smashed an interactive display monitor at the Veterans Plaza of Northern Colorado.
"I don’t know who would do something like this," Loner said. "I would only hope that that they would get help."
Loner is a board member for the non-profit that oversees the plaza, a three-acre space in Fort Collins full of statues and winding walking paths. The plaza hosts several events throughout the year.
The plaza was built about 12 years ago as place to honor veterans past, present and future. The touchscreen monitor a vandal destroyed was used to display the names of more than 7,000 veterans dating back to the Revolutionary War, Loner said.
“They just put a baseball bat or a crowbar to the monitor, to the face of it, and destroyed the monitor, the touchscreen, ect., so it’s completely shut down," Loner said.
Fortunately, the plaza has a second monitor, and Loner said he was able to transfer the names of the veterans to that monitor. Still, it will cost the non-profit about $12,000 to replace the damaged screen.
"It could be just random vandalism," Loner said. "It could be someone who has an issue with the military. We don’t know.”
The non-profit created a donation website to help replace the display. Loner said insurance will likely help cover much of the cost, but any additional funds raised will be used to purchase a security camera system.
Loner still doesn't understand why someone would target the plaza dedicated to veterans. In 2020, he said someone stole five military service flags that were displayed in celebration of Flag Day.
"We’re just honoring people who signed a blank check and went off and served and tried to protect people’s freedoms around the world," he said.
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