McKinney City Council unanimously approved the renaming of Veterans Memorial Park to Corporal R.D. Foster Veterans Memorial Park at an Oct. 17 meeting.

The memorial park was renamed to honor Ronnie “R.D.” Foster, a Marine Corps veteran from McKinney who campaigned for the creation of the veterans memorial and served on the McKinney Armed Services Memorial Board.

The details

The newly-named Corporal R.D. Foster Veterans Memorial Park is located in Craig Ranch and includes a Wall of Honor, a symbolic water fountain, a lighted American flag that flies 24-hours a day and more, according to the city’s website.

The memorial, which was dedicated in November 2011, began with a list of 365 fallen veterans from Collin County, said Colin Kimball, chairman of the McKinney Armed Services Memorial Board. The memorial has continued to see more names added, with a total of 435 veterans listed on the wall today.

Diving in deeper

Foster was a McKinney resident from a young age and attended McKinney High School prior to enlisting in the Marine Corps, Kimball said.

He enlisted in 1966 and would go on to serve three years in Vietnam, according to Trina Foster, R.D. Foster’s wife. During his time in the service, Foster lost his best friend, Charles “Bill” Bryan, along with six other friends in the war, Kimball said.

The loss of those friends would later become the inspiration for the Veterans Memorial Park in McKinney, a project that Foster researched, fundraised and advocated for, he said.

“It was his purpose to carry on their legacy and make sure [local veterans] were not forgotten,” Trina Foster said of R.D. Foster.

In addition to the creation of the memorial, Foster also authored a number of books including books detailing the stories of veterans from the Collin County area. He is also the co-founder of the North Texas Fallen Warrior Portrait Project.

Foster was also a singer-songwriter and worked as a tour bus driver. He passed away earlier this year.

Quote of note

“[Foster’s] life was dedicated to making sure that those who have served were remembered for generations to come,” McKinney Mayor George Fuller said of Foster’s work on the Veterans Memorial Park.

Also of note

Fuller spoke about the park renaming at the annual McKinney Veterans Day Ceremony at the memorial park on Nov. 11.

The event included remarks from Fuller, Kimball and keynote speaker Bob Tomes, as well as performances by choral group Sostenuto. The event also included a presentation of colors by members of the McKinney High School junior ROTC program and a fly-over by four vintage T-6 Texan planes.