Pavers at Infantry Museum honor soldiers, families, and friends

By Mackenzie Patterson - email

COLUMBUS, GA (WXTX) -  Howard Pestano and his family traveled all the way from southern California to see the new bricks lining Heritage Walk at the National Infantry Museum in Columbus.  Pestano bought a paver for his father-in-law, Richard Steines, last Thanksgiving.

"Good man and he's about nothing but family.  He loves his grandkids.  He loves his children," said Pestano.

Pestano described Steines as a family man, a Veteran, and a Purple Heart recipient.  This is why Pestano bought a paver: to honor the man who was wounded twice in Vietnam.  His decision to honor his father-in-law led to a surprise discovery about his own dad.

"At that time we found out that my father had won a purple heart in Korea," said Pestano.

So, he bought a second paver. This one for his father, a man he said was always there.

Each brick tells a story.  A family honors their hero.  A wife shows her pride for her husband.  And, loved ones pay tribute to a life.  People came from just about everywhere to see this dedication from places like California, Tennessee, and Maryland.

Greg Camp, the Executive Vice President for the National Infantry Foundation, explained to News Leader Nine how special the engraved bricks are for soldiers, veterans, families, and friends.

"It's a permanent way to remind and to honor a legacy, a loved one, an event, a family," said Camp.

Pestano said that is exactly why the pavers are so important to his family.

"Having four children and ten grandchildren and if their children have children they'll always be able to come back and know that this man was something special," said Pestano.

For everyone, it is a permanent thank-you to those who served.

Copyright 2011 WXTX. All rights reserved.