Monroe Veterans Memorial team receives honors


Monroe's American Legion Arthur Kincaid Post No. 58, the Monroe Historical Society, Park Place Middle School and Boy Scout Troop 53 have been identified as recipients of the 2016 Community Stewardship Award, an annual honor presented by the Snohomish County Council and Republic Services.

All four organizations were honored in a joint resolution read during the Snohomish County Council meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 17, at the Snohomish County administration building in Everett. The Community Stewardship Award recognizes each group's contribution to the ongoing Monroe Veterans Memorial project, and will be presented at 2 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 25, during the Evergreen State Fair opening day ceremonies at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds.

The stewardship award comes with a $3,000 grant from Republic Services that will be used to help fund the project, which is currently under construction at Monroe's Lake Tye Park.-á

Founded in 2011, the Community Stewardship Award is a collaborative effort between Republic Services and the county council, which work together to identify an individual, organization or coalition focused on community-building through either one-time or ongoing stewardship efforts. When Councilmember Hans Dunshee learned about Monroe's new Veterans Memorial, he submitted the project to Republic Services Director Joe Casalini for consideration.-á

"It really is the community-building part of this that touched on me,GÇ¥ Dunshee said. "A healthy community is a great place to live, and this is building a great community.GÇ¥

Casalini was immediately on board with the idea.


"When Councilmember Dunshee brought this effort to our attention, we thought it was a perfect fit for the community stewardship award,GÇ¥ Casalini said. "This endeavor exemplifies every aspect of civic stewardship and the role that everyday people can play in fostering community.GÇ¥

The origins of Monroe's new monument go all the way back to 1946, when a group of Monroe residents from the Arthur Kincaid American Legion dedicated the high school athletic field to former Monroe High School students who lost their lives in World War II, naming it Memorial Field. Five years later, a modest cement monument was installed at the field and topped with a bronze plaque. The legion always intended to add the names of each soldier lost during the war, but for whatever reason, the old stone relic remained incomplete. -á -á

Over the years, the monument rested there, forgotten, tucked away behind a chain-link fence.

And then, in 2013, Monroe Historical Society president Tami Kinney started asking questions. She wanted to know the story of the monument and why it was never finished. Most importantly, she wanted to know the names of the Monroe soldiers who had died, so they could finally be honored. Park Place Middle School teachers Tonia Boyle and Dottie Simoni got involved, thinking it would be a perfect project for their eighth-grade humanities students.

But they needed to collect the names, so the students would have something to research. Enter Monroe Historical Society volunteer Tom Parry, who engaged in a massive research project to acquire a complete list of the Monroe soldiers who died in WWII.

A total of 18 Monroe residents lost their lives in WWII, and Park Place Middle School students traveled back in time to learn what they could about each one. The research culminated in student presentations and a veterans panel at the end of the 2015 school year during a free event held at Park Place Middle School called "Gone but not Forgotten.GÇ¥

Students, along with the historical society, began raising money to refurbish the monument and have the names added, but it was eventually decided that constructing a new monument in a more visible location would be a better way to honor members of the U.S. Armed Forces. The new memorial is designed to honor veterans from all branches of the military, with special recognition given to the 18 soldiers who died in WWII.


The legion approached the Monroe City Council about the idea, receiving overwhelming support. It then worked with the Monroe Parks Department to identify a suitable location.

Next, the legion needed somebody to spearhead the construction, so it approached Sultan resident Sam Thomas, a member of Boy Scout Troop 53. Thomas agreed to tackle the memorial project in hopes of obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest rank a scout can achieve. An official groundbreaking ceremony was held in early June, and the project is currently underway.-á

"Really great to see so many people get involved in honoring our vets, building our community and making connections. The impact will be felt for years to come,GÇ¥ said Dunshee in a news release.-á

Donations can be made to help support the project. The American Legion is a 501(C)3 nonprofit. For more information on how to help, contact Boyd Booze at

Photo by Chris Hendrickson Back row: Monroe Historical Society President Tami Kinney, Tonia Boyle, American Legion Chaplain Boyd Booze, Dottie Simoni and American Legion member Jerry Taylor. Front row: Monroe Historical Society trustee Chris Bee, American Legion First Vice Commander Russ Dean, Boy Scout Sam Thomas, Republic Services Director Joe Casalini, Dan Thomas and Boy Scouts Troop 53 leader Anne Singleton.


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