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Community Overview

Clovis is a community that knows and respects its history and Mayor Bob Whalen, whose family has been part of the community for four generations, knows it even better than most.

“According to the stories my mother told me, Clovis was looked down on for many years by others in the valley. It was considered a podunk town made up of migrants from the Dustbowl states, Mexico and, more recently, Southeast Asia”, Whalen said. “What others failed to realize,” he noted, “is that those hard-scrabble, tough-minded people who were willing to work hard, pull themselves up by their bootstraps and make something of themselves have made Clovis the great community it is today. They had a hard work, no excuses mentality.”

In fact, 104-year-old Clovis has been home to every immigrant and Native American group and every ethnic and cultural minority in California – a community working together to build their family’s American dreams. Descendants of early settlers like Marcus Pollasky remain today, mingling and working with more recent immigrants to the Central Valley, to create the often-touted “Clovis Way of Life” which involves a tradition of public service, community mindedness and excellence; holding their city to higher standards than anyone else for miles around.

It’s hard to argue with the results: top-ranked public schools, the safest city in the Valley, and a community that has consistently been ranked as the Best City for Young Families in California by the consumer information website, NerdWallet.

“While technology has been the niche of Silicon Valley, thanks to its proximity to Stanford University, families are the niche of Clovis. We didn’t go looking for that niche, but the niche found us because folks that have come before us have made a lot of good decisions that have created this family-friendly environment,” the mayor said. “Our responsibility now is to make sure we don’t mess things up as we continue to grow.”

“Change is not progress, if you lose your core.” Whalen added. “As we continue to grow, we work to make sure that we encourage interaction and maintain our small town-feel. Clovis streets are built in a mellow, meandering style with plenty of green space which engenders calmness, not frenzy. We continue significant emphasis on education, public safety and family-oriented values. We design villages and neighborhoods within our city to encourage interaction by building trails and parks where people can connect with one another and we preserve our traditional gatherings in Old Town Clovis such as the farmers market, the Clovis Chamber’s Big Hat Days and ClovisFest, and our 102-year-old rodeo.”

Clovis now has the lowest unemployment rate and the highest household income in the region. It’s come a long way from the days when people used to look down their noses at the folks who lived here. In fact, people now pay a premium for homes with a Clovis address. “It’s really the result of folks committing to making themselves, each other and their community the best it can be”, Whalen noted.

Clovis is now a large city of 108,000 but the mayor is confident, “we will continue to succeed as long as we maintain our core.” Hard work, no excuses.

The Clovis Veterans Memorial District is a California Special District established in 1946 to honor our veterans and serve our community. There are 27 districts in the State of California that honor the 2 million veterans who call California home. The Clovis Veterans Memorial District is proud to serve the community by honoring its mission to provide a permanent living memorial honoring U.S. Military and Veterans; provide facilities and support programs to promote a legacy of service for preserving our community’s and country’s foundational ideals.

The Clovis Veterans Memorial District is known throughout Central California as a hidden gem. It is lauded as one of the most remarkable facilities throughout the Central Valley and is priced to provide the best value to customers in California. The revenue generated from facility rentals helps fund school and community programs, affords free meeting space to veterans and youth organizations, and provides discounts to service clubs and many other programs. Special grants that promote civic education, patriotism and character development are also resourced from revenue generated through facility rentals.

The Veterans Memorial Building, which is today known as the Rex Phebus Memorial Building, was completed in 1951 and has seen extensive remodeling to become a modern, green, conference center. The 20,200-square-foot facility › features a 350-seat auditorium, a ballroom that can accommodate over 900 guests and meeting rooms of various sizes used to host many different events for the Clovis community. The facility patrons include veterans’ organizations, nonprofit groups, governmental agencies from around the state and country, weddings, memorial services and more, according to Lorenzo Rios, District CEO.

“We bring a lot of outside business to Clovis.” Rios said.

In recent years the Memorial District added several memorials that serve to educate the community on the sacrifices made in defense of the country and to provide healing for those who served. One such memorial consists of statues of five figures standing in a semicircle around the boots, rifle and helmet of a fallen comrade. Each figure represents a different military branch from a different era in history and is meant to ensure that those who fell in the line of duty are never forgotten. Another memorial is the Veterans’ Garden of Honor which is a living remembrance of the Clovis men and women who gave their lives in the major conflicts of our country.

“The names of local Gold Star Heroes from as far back as World War I are memorialized there,” Rios said.

Another memorial is a large metal globe with nearby plaques which memorialize veterans of different wars and battles throughout our nation’s history.

The District has also erected two memorials at off-site locations in the community. One is The Remembrance Plaza of the Pinedale Assembly Center that honors the 4,800 Japanese-Americans who were interned nearby. It includes a sculpted fountain that shares the history of the former internment camp, as well as the U.S. Soldiers of Japanese descent and the path toward reconciliation. It was built through a joint effort of the Clovis Veterans Memorial District, the Central California District Council of the Japanese American League and the Central California Nikkei Foundation. The District also honors military working dogs and their handlers through a memorial erected at the Miss Winkles Pet Adoption Center in Clovis. The memorial educates the public on the service that military work dogs have provided to this country dating back to World War I.

In an effort to fulfill the District’s mission of honoring veterans and educating the community, the District has made a promise to open a Community Heritage Center. The center will focus on preserving our community’s and country’s foundational ideals through interactive exhibits that engage the community with a focus on veterans and local history.

Plans are in final stages to open an Innovation Center that will promote a healthy, safe place for the community and veterans to come and learn about different hands on projects from wood working to welding, 3-D printing and so much more. The Innovation Center will provide a space for an intergenerational conversation to start that promotes the sharing of stories, culture, experience and traditions that promote a vibrant community.

The District partnered with the City of Clovis to open up a new commercial kitchen that will provide the community the opportunity to access a facility with three commercial kitchens and a renowned chef who will provide advice to budding chefs and entrepreneurs. The District also makes available to the community the rental of all four commercial kitchens in the District’s main facility. These kitchens provide the commercial facility needed to help those small businesses in the cottage food industry blossom in Central California.

The District is a professional organization that takes pride in providing world class facilities and programs and serving as a vital partner to the community.

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