Sharp’s Ridge Veterans Memorial Park is about to receive some upgrades, thanks to a $15,000 check from Big Benders LLC, a franchise of Hardee’s. The check was presented to the Veterans Heritage Site Foundation on Wednesday at the park’s overlook.
The Veterans Heritage Site Foundation adopted Sharp’s Ridge Veterans Memorial Park in 2016 through Knoxville Parks and Recreation’s Adopt-a-Park program. The group was also behind adding the word “Veterans” to the park’s official name, which the City’s Public Property Naming Committee and City Council approved last year.
The money will primarily go toward trail work that will widen the park’s existing trails. With the help of the Appalachian Mountian Bike Club, the Veterans Heritage Site Foundation volunteers plan to add a trail extension that will include six “zig-zags” down the ridge’s hillside.
The foundation has organized hundreds of volunteers to conduct park cleanups and brush clearings to improve the view from the overlook.
“Isn’t it a testament to our veterans that, after serving for our country, they want to come back and improve our community here at home?” Mayor Madeline Rogero said at the check presentation at the park’s overlook on Wednesday.
The donation was given through a Hardee’s “Stars for Heroes” grant, designed to rally behind veterans and their families by supporting military-affiliated charities. Hardee’s and Carl’s, Jr. restaurants draw money for the grant through $1 donations from customers nationwide.
“To think, we got this check because one of us saw a poster for the grant at a Hardee’s drive through window,” said Jessica King, a U.S. veteran and leading organizer for the volunteer group at Sharp’s Ridge. “You never know where the next opportunity’s going to be!” Trail work is expected to begin later this year.