Welcome to the Armed Forces Reserve Center | GUEST OPINION

I am proud and honored to welcome the new, consolidated Marysville Armed Forces Reserve Center.

I had the opportunity to tour this facility in advance a couple of weeks ago and meet with some of the top officials. It has been a pleasure getting to know them. I want to say thanks to Col. Phillip Jolly, Maj. David Ketchell, Maj. Leigh Palmer, Kone’ Nisperos Jr. — Executive Administrative Asst. and Capt. Cathleen Topasna.

This facility is top of the line, from its extensive office space, classrooms and LEEDS Silver-certified building to its dining facility and state-of-the-art kitchen, sure to give its Master Chefs a leg up in future Military Chef Competitions.

Our community has been a Navy town since the opening of Naval Station Everett in 1994 and the Commissary/PX in Marysville.

Marysville is home to many military families either permanently or temporarily stationed in the area, or retired military who have chosen Marysville as the place to enjoy their golden years. They and their families contribute in positive ways to the social fabric of Marysville. We are a better community because of their contributions.

With the arrival of the Armed Forces Reserve Center, I am proud to say that we can broaden our status to call ourselves an all-services military town.

When we say we support our troops who are out there daily honoring us with their service and preserving the freedoms we enjoy, that support extends to their families as well, who deserve to live in a safe, friendly and welcoming environment.

I want to share a couple of stories that I hope will reflect the support you will receive here. A while back, I received an email from a sailor on deployment. He shared issues his family back home in Marysville were facing. We were able to assist with the family needs and hopefully provide some peace of mind for this sailor that his family was in good hands while he was doing the difficult work of defending our country abroad. I hope all of our military personnel will feel free to contact me whenever they feel it is warranted, just as any other citizen of Marysville should.

When we met a couple weeks ago, Col. Jolly told a touching story about the warm reception that some soldiers have received in our local restaurants. When they went to settle the bill, they were told it was already paid.

It’s not always going to be free meals and fanfare, but you can be sure that those who work or train here will be welcomed like one of the family.

We know that this Armed Forces Reserve Center will bring great social and economic benefits to our community, and without a doubt benefit us in other ways that we haven’t even begun to explore.

I wanted to mention just a few ways that Marysville already partners with the military, so you can see where how far we’ve come in this area.

Our adopted ship, USS Ingraham, through the Navy’s Adopt-A-Ship Program — our newest roadway, Ingraham Boulevard, is named in their honor.

We participate in the Military Family Friendly Partnership Employment Initiative that promotes a level playing field for job-seeking military spouses.

I proclaimed 2012 Military Veterans Promotions Year at our March 26 City Council meeting. The City Council and I encourage local merchants to consider joining online a voluntary new year-round merchant discounts and promotions program, the Merchants MVP Network, powered by the Edmonds-based Operation Military Family.

These are just a few community-minded ways we salute our troops and their families.

This outstanding facility stands as a symbol that government is just as committed to today’s modern military as the men and women who serve in it.

Maj. Palmer shared with me that the combat patch worn on your shoulder represents service in an active theater during war and that many of you assigned to the Reserve Center here in Marysville have one of these patches. This is remarkable and represents a truth that I believe we as civilians must not overlook. While the lives of all Americans have changed post 9/11, the brave men and women of our armed forces have bore the brunt of that change. Your lives have changed far more dramatically than ours have as you have been put in harm’s way to defend the freedoms of this great nation, sacrificing time away from loved ones, jobs, and other commitments back home. and instead entering into the fray along with all of the dangers and stresses that come with such an overwhelming commitment.

We have the highest respect for what you do daily. We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude for your service. We are thankful that Marysville was chosen to become home to this great facility.

And we hope you will enjoy the city of Marysville.

Mayor Jon Nehring can be reached at mayor@marysvillewa.gov or 360-363-8091.


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